Tuesday, May 7, 2024

There’s Some Kind of Plan

 Somehow There’s a Plan

By EC Stilson 

I had a deep conversation with my father-in-law and told him that I still hoped I’d be in remission someday. “It might sound ridiculous, but without hope what else do we have?”

“That reminds me,” he said. “I have something for you to read and something for you to keep.” After leaving the room and returning, he handed me a faded envelope that said “June 2007.”

“You’re only the second person to read this,” he said, then slid the envelope across the table.

So, I held it gingerly—sacredly—since I knew this was important to a man I respect so much. After all, when I’m having a tough time making it through treatments, radiation, or surgeries, I think about my dad and my father-in-law. They both had cancer and were brave enough to continue fighting so they could somehow beat this and survive.

I opened the letter, and it suddenly felt hard to breathe. His written words detailed the story of how a strange peace came to him in his darkest hour, and somehow he knew that one day he’d be okay. It’s amazing knowing this happened to my father-in-law because he’s not overly religious, yet this is a true testament of his unyielding faith. 

He  beat cancer not long after writing about this moment, and he’s been cancer free for almost 17 years.

I handed the envelope back. “That’s pretty powerful. I hope I’ll always remember it—to keep my own hope alive.”

“Well…,” He procured something he’d been holding behind his back. “This is for you to keep so you’ll remember what happened to me. Maybe you’ll need this reminder when times are hard.” Then that softhearted Italian smiled, his eyes lighting with wonder. “I carved it for you.”

My eyes swept across the foot-tall hand-carved violin. And as my eyes discovered every intricate detail, I couldn’t help remembering something from over two decades before.

I was 16. The group had asked for a violinist to help them with a play. “We’ll tell the story,” the woman said, “of a battered violin an auctioneer tries selling. But no one will want it. And when the auctioneer is about to just give it away, someone will step from the audience and play the violin to show its true worth.”  

They picked me to play the violin during the play. After my performance during each show, numerous actors would bid on the violin, and then it would “mock-sell” for thousands upon thousands of dollars. It was such a beautifully touching show, and the people in attendance really did seem enchanted as I played the violin and walked among them before actors “placed their bids.”

I thought about this as I studied the little violin my father-in-law made for me. And just when I thought I’d seen everything it had to offer, I noticed a laminated note by the violin.

“What is this?” I asked.

Then my breath caught in my throat because it was the story from the play I’d performed in: The Touch of the Master’s Hand. I could hardly believe my father-in-law had printed out the story and hooked it to the violin he’d carved—almost like he’d known…


We’ve been given so much by so many people. I don’t even know how to begin thanking everyone. But just know that it’s this kindness and strength that are buoying me forward. And through it all, I’m seeing how awesome life is when—even through the heartache—we have the courage to see that G-d has a plan. Thank you for bringing so much joy to my life as I continue getting through this.

No comments:

Post a Comment