ring the bell

After five long weeks of chemo and radiation, Joey got to ring the bell today…

They have a ceremony at CTCA where when someone finishes their last treatment… they get to ring the bell, and they make a celebration of that part of your journey being completed.

It’s a day my bride has been looking forward to since we got here in mid-August.  Though we will continue to come back here for more, even stronger, chemo treatments that Joey will get in the coming months… all of her radiation treatments are completed and that’s what Joey got to celebrate today.

The smile, the tears, and especially the joy on her face said it all.

What an incredible staff of people they have at this hospital.  After almost two months of living in a hotel, then a house nearby, and coming in daily for treatments and appointments, we feel part of a much bigger family that have welcomed us with open arms and loved us just as we are.

Our truck was already packed for the trip home… so as soon as the ceremony was over, we hit the road, and just got home to our farm here in Tennessee an hour or so ago.  Joey and the baby are sleeping and I’m sitting here in my easy chair… hitting play again and again… watching my sweet wife surrounded by angels with pom-poms and hugs cheering her on.

Three hundred miles and many hours later… the bell is still ringing and I’m still celebrating.

Thank you Lord for this milestone.  Thank you.  Thank you.


Beneath the bell at CTCA there’s a plaque on the wall with a beautiful story from an unknown author that I’d never heard before…

“Two Horses.

There were two horses in a field.  From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse.  But if you get a closer look you will notice something quite interesting… One of the horses is blind.  His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made him a safe and comfortable barn to live in. This alone is pretty amazing.  But if you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. It is coming from a smaller horse in the field.  Attached to the horse’s halter is a small, copper-colored bell. It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow.  As you stand and watch these two friends you’ll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse, and that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk to where the other horse is, trusting he will not be led astray.  When the horse with the bell returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, he will stop occasionally to look back, making sure that the blind friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell.

Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect. Or because we have problems or challenges.  He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need.  Sometimes we are the blind horse, being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives.

And at other times we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way.  Good friends are like that. You may not always see them, but you know they are always there.

Please listen for my bell, and I will listen for yours”.