Fr. Steve’s updates

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The second cycle of chemo is finished! The roads coming back home were an icy mess. Fr. Bill had to slow down to 30 MPH in stretches. But, we made it home safely.

The hospital lobby features a piano where people are invited to play and lift up the spirits of patients, their families and the staff.

When I walked through the lobby on the first day of treatment, a man was playing “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” a most beautiful and reassuring hymn.

While waiting for the first appointment, I walked by an empty table that held a partially completed 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

I’ve seen families and individuals working on the picture to pass the time. I just had a few minutes, but I stopped and found where one small piece fit.

It’s like a lot of things in life – with many people, often unseen, working together, we can accomplish bigger tasks … if only we all take a small part.

… we can accomplish bigger tasks … if only we all take a small part

The doctors put my last three blood tests on a graph on the computer. They showed me how the blood cell counts dropped so low the first week, but built back up to a normal and healthy range – good news as the treatments continue.

When one of the nurses came in to change IV bags, she asked where I was from and what I did. We found out that she is a donor to St. Joseph’s – she even had one of our appointment calendars in her purse! Whenever I meet people whom I’ve only gotten to thank by mail, it’s a special treat to express that thanks more personally.

I did get to see the first part of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on TV. I was impressed by the respect and inclusion of the First Nations of Canada in welcoming the athletes and telling the story of this continent. Part of our South Dakota mission statement asks us to be builders of respect and unity between the Lakota people and other traditions, which we strive to do.

I know how my body responded to the first round and know I’ll have to stay low key for several days.

This morning it was enough to get up and get ready for church, which is such a strength for me Sunday after Sunday. One of the songs today was very upbeat at a point where I wasn’t feeling very good at all, but I sang along with as much energy as I could afford.

Church has a way of expressing so many different emotions. When you’re down, a happy song can help me remember the good times and remind me I won’t feel so punk forever.

And, when I’m self satisfied, sometimes a hymn that focuses on our need for forgiveness and reconciliation is a reminder that I have still have plenty of work to do spiritually.

I don’t feel too good now, but I know this is just a stage, and I have strong faith there are better times ahead.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

11 thoughts on “Fr. Steve’s updates”

  1. Father Steve
    That is great news for you. Like you said better days ahead. Church is always encouraging to me, and my family. I’ve been so proud of my son Ricky, he was baptized a couple of weeks ago, and is really growing up and making good choices in serving our creator. I guess that makes me a proud parent. ha! It’s always good to look back at the good old days as they say. I’m very happy for you, and continue to pray for you and the children. Watch those slick roads and may God Bless you all. The Clappers

  2. Good Morning Fr. Steve…there are better days ahead, more songs to sing and more pieces of lifes puzzle to slip into place. Hope you will have a good day. My prayers are with you.

  3. Fr. Steve,

    Please know you are in our prayers. We hope you beat this terrible illness and continue to help those wonderful children. We know you are strong and with the love and help of the children you will come through this. We have every hope that you will become a survivor of cancer and keep on keeping on at St. Joseph’s. God Bless you!

    15 Feb 2010
    Dear Fr Steve — I read carefully what you share with us. Thank you. Jesus told us that whatever we ask him his Name..that is according to the Will of the Father (1 John 5:14, he will do. And so, if it is according to the Eternal Will of the Father..before you or I were ever born..that you are completely healed and can return to the wonderful work you are doing for God..MAY IT BE SO! /// I ask for you, Father, every Blessing, spiritual, mental, emotional, and and every day in your complete recovery. THANKS, Father, for all you do! (And as you read this, please, simply, ask Jesus to heal Kathleen and me in our marriage and reunite us. Kathleen left me almost two years now. It is an agony.)
    Every Blessing — John

  5. There’s an old song from Godspell that says:

    “Day by day
    Day by day
    Oh Dear Lord
    Three things I pray
    To see thee more clearly
    Love thee more dearly
    Follow thee more nearly
    Day by day”

    Each day is a blessing to you and to all of us who are praying for you! Congratulations for getting through the second cycle of chemo! Each day will get a little better.


  6. Father Steve: It’s a special person who receives get well wishes from people who don’t even know know him. You are such an individual. We read the letters you send and feel a connection with you. But we have never met. Your letters always reflect happiness and hope. So, Father Steve, we wish you speedy recovery and happy thoughts of thawing snowdrifts….from a thousand-plus miles away. People need you so take good care of yourselfand don’t forget to rest.

  7. Father Steve,

    Every morning I read the daily passage of:

    365 days of walking the Red Road, The Native American Path to leading a spiritual life every day by Terri Jean.

    I have found many answers from our ancestors, should you get a chance look into it.

    You are always in our daily prayers and we wish you a speedy recovery.

  8. Dear Father Steve:

    Remember that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

    Father, no matter how difficult it may seem to get through this time in your life, the positive manner in which you are handling it is a PLUS!! Trust us, we know.

  9. Stand on His Promises and you will not fall nor slip!

    I have lost my mother, aunt and uncle and grandparents to cancer but they did not leave this earth so fast! The treatments worked and bought good and long time so their work could be finished here.

    It was the journey of faith tested and tried that brought them thru. And the ROSARY, oh the LOVELY LADY CALLS OUT TO BE SPOKEN TO AND FOR YOU TO CURL UP AND PUT YOUR HEAD TOO UPON HER LOVELY SERENCE LAP!

    Have you called YOUR MOTHER recently?

    I know you tell us that but HAVE “YOU” CALLED HOME!??

    Baruch Hashem – Bless His Holy Name

    Sean agus benaught De leat~ Good health and G-d’s blessings be upon You daily!

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