It’s “we” now and not just “I.”

Post date: Jan 23, 2017 7:09:21 PM

(A note from Renate's Mother, Patricia Damm): Renate’s dad often talks about the closeness of his family, especially during the dark days of World War II in Germany. All his relatives lived in the same town, with a few aunts and uncles only an hour’s train ride away. With all the horror going on around them, not knowing if their husbands, fathers or sons would be coming home, the family members lived nearby and were able to comfort one another.

My childhood was nothing like that as my relatives had spread out, moving to different cities all over the United States. (And we only experienced a few inconveniences during the war.) We looked to our immediate family and friends we met at church and in the communities. This is the path my husband and I followed, too, with Renate and her brother, Klaus, in tow. We lived in Alabama, Michigan, Florida and even in Germany for a while.

When Renate, and eventually Klaus, married and began their own families, God settled them in faraway places – Brazil and Nevada. Our rare visits with our grandchildren were dearly treasured and memorable. Then my husband sold his business and we retired and decided to move to Pensacola, Florida.

Last year our families faced our own dark days. Cancer and dementia changed our futures. While the dementia in my husband took a slow path in developing, Doug’s cancer had an immediacy. God was (and is) our comforter; He kept us upright and led us each step of the way, showing each of us what we must do. By the grace of God, Doug and Renate were called from the Brazil mission field to the BMM office in Cleveland, Ohio. This city is also the location of the Cleveland Clinic, renowned throughout the world. Our emotions, especially Renate’s, followed the ups and downs of the chemo treatments and scans. After several trips back and forth from Pensacola to Cleveland, we all decided our situations needed definite support from each other – real family support. And I see God’s leading (and pushing) my husband and me to get up to Ohio. Our son and grandson flew in from Nevada to help and, in the middle of December, with bitter cold and snow on the way, we came to Cleveland.

Perhaps the most difficult part of separation is the not knowing of how things are really going. Tears shed over the phone cannot be comforted by a hug. And when everyday life is unpredictable, there is now a hand to hold and a shoulder to lean on. I’ve come to realize how important a close family is – not just in distance, but in God’s intention of the deeper meaning of comforting, physical presence. Friends are certainly a precious gift from God, but the touch of my daughter’s hand and our frequent, face-to-face conversations are a provision of spiritual and emotional strength.

We still get up every day looking to God for His direction each moment, but it’s “we” now and not just “I.”

- Patricia Damm