Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wheat and the Tares

Last Thursday I had the second treatment in the Taxol regime. The substance that is used to liquefy this chemotherapy drug can cause an allergic reaction so patients are prepared for the reaction by going over the possible signs; they include, nausea, a rush of blood to the head, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and sharp pains in the back. This allergic reaction can happen at any time during the four rounds, so I was not out of the woods just because I did not have a reaction with the first round.

Justin, Denise, and I were all talking and laughing when Justin got a call from work and he left the room. Denise and I were sharing quotes out of the book, The Alchemist (a phenomenal book by the way) when I got instantly sick to my stomach. I asked her to go and get Lisa, the wonder nurse. By the time Denise got to the office (30 steps away), I felt like I could not breathe, blood must have rushed to my head, as it felt like my ears and lips were going to literally blow off from my face, and my heart was beating out of my chest. I knew that I was having an allergic reaction and tried to get up to relieve the excruciating pain in my back, but saw stars and knew that I was about to pass out, so I quickly sat back down. I was really scared and it didn’t help that Lisa was actually running in the chemo room, bringing an oxygen tank and mask, and rushing about to turn the Taxol off and pump another bag of Benadryl into my body.

I don’t know how long the reaction occurred in real time, but it felt like forever and it made me reflect on eternity itself. I think this life, which is preparatory to eternal life, will always have a mixture of good and bad. Without the bad things that spring up in life, we cannot savor the truly great things (2 Nephi 2:11) and it is in this opposition that we are really blessed beyond measure, for we see ourselves in a true light (Doctrine and Covenants 78:19). It reminds me of the Parable of the Wheat and Tares that Christ taught in Matthew chapter 13:

25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed atares among the wheat, and went his way.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to cburn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

The “tares” that are present in all of our lives are allowed to grow up among our “wheat” because it is a proving ground. Will we, despite the opposition that is inherent in all of our lives, grow and develop into the people God knows we are. Heavenly Father already knows how we will respond, for He is omniscient, so the test is not to “show Him” how we will respond, it is for us to become who He already knows we are.

Yesterday was a brilliant example of the unbelievable good that can happen in this life. The doorbell rang and there stood Jeany and Gavin Campbell. Gavin looked a little shy…in opposition to Jeany’s obvious pride for her twelve year old son. In his hands he held a Ziploc bag full of money and would have been perfectly happy just to hand it to me and run, but in my dumbfoundedness I eked out, “How did you do this?”

At the cajoling of his mom, he related that he had been involved in an activity with some other young men and women and they have been given a roll of quarters and given the charge to increase their profit (an activity having to do with the Parable of the Talents). This humble, sweet twelve year old boy who could have been involved in a myriad of other activities, looked at his group members and told them about what was happening with me and they all decided to purchase some supplies and with the help of their moms they made baked goods and sold them in the neighborhood. The plastic bag represented all of the work, love, and compassion that went into this act of kindness.

Gavin put the bag into my hands and much like my reaction to the Taxol, I felt my heart pounding out of my chest and I could not breathe. I could not believe that he had used his life and resources to make life better for me. I was completely incapable of expressing my sincere gratitude; I was so overwhelmed by the act itself that I just simply said, “Thank you!” and closed the door with my heart full of love.

I was shocked! Just like the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, I know these kids have negative things in their midst that they could be choosing. They could be fulfilling their own wishes or worse destroying the well-being of another…and some do… but they didn’t! They chose to do something truly wonderful! They used their light to brighten the way for another. I can really appreciate that the “tares” in their lives were quieted by the power of their “wheat” and isn’t that the rub…What will we do when faced with life defining circumstances? I am thankful for the powerful lesson from a sweet and unassuming twelve year old (Matthew 5:14-16).

Heavenly Father loves us and knows that this life can at times be quite difficult, so just like Lisa prepared me for the reaction to the Taxol, He has prepared us by helping us to recognize the spirit in our lives. When something is good and positive we can recognize it:

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance…

Once we are able to recognize the good and positive things in our lives, the “tares” are no so scary anymore.

Love to you all,


‘Mom’s Heart’ moment: On Saturday morning we had a late start and everyone was just sort of dragging their feet and not super motivated to get ready. I jumped in the shower and asked Eli to go and get himself dressed. I finished with the shower and was trying to cover some of my new wrinkles when the doorbell rang. I heard rustling at the door and with excitement Eli let our guests in…HE WAS COMPLETELY NAKED! I guess he had missed the prompt to get himself dressed. Welcome to our home; the gifts just keep giving!


  1. I don't know Gavin or the other kids, but what an amazing act of kindness and service given to you and your family! Thank you for sharing it with all of us! Love, Kim

  2. Sweet Gavin! That's so beautiful, Beck. Oakridge is the very, very best. It seems like the giving never, ever stops there. Lots of love!
    P.S. Way to go Eli! When I was little I once walked outside to show my mom my new socks.In JUST my socks... she was out there talking to the Elders. Classic!

  3. Hey Becky - I'm so grateful and blessed to know you! I just love following your blog and being uplifted each time I read it! In your moment of trial you have provided others and more specifically me, the opportunity to learn from your amazing faith and strength! Thank you! Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you daily and will continue as you press forward with this battle. 2 Nephi 31:20 - My favorite!

    Love you!
    Char McKinstry Crippen :)