Beautiful Boy

I’m in Brazil. My flight connected through Atlanta and I picked up a 17-year-old boy at the airport. I met him the last time I was in Brazil. He was here with his family. This time his parents entrusted me with his safety. Little do they know that his presence in my life is a much bigger gift for me than my semi-parental/big brother role here in Brazil.

This journey of mine since January has given me so many gifts and sitting in the Atlanta airport with a young man who as been battling what I got in January since he was 9 is an indescribable experience. Not only is this one of the few people in the world who knows truly how I feel, but he’s 17 and its as if he’s my wise old teacher. He’s brilliant, taking 5 Advance Placement Honors classes usually held for Seniors as a Junior in High School. He quotes intricate texts from the bible in simple ways, applying biblical lessons to my daily life. There is so much unsaid between us that doesn’t need to be said. It’s like we’re Vietnam soldiers sitting around a fire but one of us is a rookie and the other is a 4-tour lifer. I’m the friggin rookie. Hardly anyone outside his family and docs knows about his condition. It doesn’t define him, he doesn’t let it limit his potential in any way and he does it all with a great big smile.

So here is this beautiful boy who I know would have been beautiful anyway but I cant help to think that the tragic ailment we share has deepened him beyond all measure. I find myself looking up to him daily. The stuff that comes out of this kid’s mouth (and heart) is as extemporaneous as it is profound. Every once in a while he’ll call me “dude” and it’s almost weird. My wise old Zen Master isn’t supposed to call me “dude.” Oh, wait, you’re 17!

We were eating dinner and he starts telling me about Zacharias in the Old Testament who denounced Archangel Gabriel for saying his wife was pregnant. Zacharias was immediately unable to speak until 9 months later when the baby was born (John the Baptist). Teach him to argue with an angel! Then I try to pull out some smart remark about Saul going blind on the Road the Damascus, then he starts going into a very interesting story about The Road to Emmaus and I am engrossed and in awe at the same time. Am I really having these conversations about life and love and faith with a person young enough to be my child?

A small window into the life that I have now that you may find boring but for me everyday is like an adventure. I was so touched by Nan’s last post I was hoping to share with you more of the same from the other end of the world. These two young people have one big thing in common: Faith. They have faith in everything. Themselves. Their friends and family. And most of all a Higher Power that gives them the security to live every day to the fullest. They trust in this faith completely. And it’s not a blind faith or a fundamental faith, things I used to be so judgmental of. Its a faith full of love and forgiveness and smiles. Big smiles.

Nan and I have started to soak a little bit of this in and sometimes we lay in bed together and pray side by side in silence, I’m not sure to whom, and count our blessings. And you have no idea how weird it is to watch my fingers type those words. If you would have told me a year ago I would say something like that, I would have laughed. Little did I know, Nan was doing it silently for years and never told me.
Love from Abadiania,

14 thoughts on “Beautiful Boy

    • Lance it sounds as if you have your perfect, intellectual, spiritual travel partner. I am happy for both of you! Safe travels! Love Jen 🙂

  1. thanks for filling me up tonight Lance. Your love and story for life itself is so beautiful. I am sure you are surrounded by many wonderful people and they are all blessed to have you with them as well. Look forward to being with you when you return.
    Blessings of my heart,

  2. Here I am in Colorado…with my nephew Zachary and my niece Amelie, and my beautiful sister Nance. I walked into their homey home today and right away felt the absence of you (Lance) who is in Brazil. Thinking of what a beautiful open heart and presence you bring to the household, missing my time with you in Brazil last spring….just plain missing you! But then I felt the warmth and happiness of your home, the joy, the beautiful altars, good food, and my happy nephew and niece… it feels so good to be here in the happy healthy home that you and Nance have created. Boy what a difference 6 months can make.

    I can’t really express how much appreciation and gratitude I have for your unfolding and for how you both took the “bull by the horns” and turned a very difficult experience into an inspiration for so many. Even to those of us who maybe once inspired you at a time with a food tip or a prayer. Now I come for a visit and my sister is running circles around me with her cooking and meditating! But that is not really what it is about. What it is about is how much you have been able to open your heart and surrender to being vulnerable and to receive the love that is around you and around all of us if we are open to receive it. Sometimes it seems so hard to find….but it is there….all you need to do is ask and it will come…even though sometimes it takes life struggles, suffering and patience to find it.

    Anyway….Lance I just want to give you and that dear 17 year old friend who I had the pleasure of meeting and who is everything you say and more…a big shout out….you are not only helping heal yourselves….but you are helping many other people and beings through the healing you are doing. Thank you. Love you, Lynn

  3. I am happy to hear that you are back in the bosom of Brazil. Have you begun to grow your beard so you can come home hot like Jesus? Sending you love from Boulder… as well as the endurance to stand under a freezing cold shower, the guts to eat something off the Nancy menu and the strength to endure the buzz of a fly while meditating… oh, and don’t forget to talk in your sleep.

  4. every word you say tells the same of all who journey through cancer. it’s as if we are lucky to learn, and see a higher truth that some only brush by slightly in life. there is a higher being and no regrets for being pulled closer to it. i feel like we are the lucky ones who get to be in grace before meeting it. enjoy it, relish it, live. love to you and your dear 17 yr old friend. smiles & love trish

  5. Great story about the Great Whoever Who seems to be paying pretty close attention to your most momentary, and, to us, minimal needs! Reminds me of what C.S. Lewis’ step-son was told. When he told C.S. Lewis he didn’t believe in God anymore, C. S. Lewis held him and said, “That’s all right, son. He still believes in you.” Have a great trip, and share lots. I’ve really enjoyed these sessions with you folks. Love to one and all!

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