I walked into the Gray’s new Encino apartment on Wednesday morning to the quiet hum of an air filter and a sleeping Will Gray. For the better part of the week I was with them, I saw and experienced many things. It was good to be in their home, among the very people we have prayed and thought about so much. I saw this place as sacred ground: where love meets struggle, where a marriage deepens and where friends share meals.
I met family and friends who are sacrificing their time, attention and resources. It was a great feeling to be temporarily caught up in the love from others, a love that Will and Angie have cultivated throughout their lives and truly depend upon now.
With Will, I saw a man who, despite his difficult diagnosis, was optimistic. He cracked jokes, craved donuts and sat with me while I watched Broke for the first time, eating his Twizzlers. The only exception to this looseness was when his body tensed with waves of nausea. I saw a man pounding protein shakes, trying to keep on what little weight remains. I saw a man dependent but determined, battling but never angry.
With Angie, I saw a woman feverishly working and serving. Just behind her eyes were hints of hope and stress vying in contention. I saw a woman calm in the face of uncertainty and willing to give everything to her husband.
I saw their pastor come over and lay hands on him, praying for the big mercy of healing and the small mercy of a day without nausea (which he received the following day).
Will and Angie are dreamers and they are also doers. This is one of the many reasons we love them. They have the ability to encourage us by risking for the right things and doing it with humility. Now, they have been forced to chop life into bite-sized pieces. It is a movement away from the future and into the present reality. It is a movement away from thriving and into surviving.
One meal at a time. One pill at a time. One visitor at a time. What I loved about being there was seeing two people moving through this with authenticity. Never putting down the pain and fright of cancer for the sake of false optimism. I saw a hope that goes beyond their circumstances. I saw two people focused on moving through this but still holding the desire to love those around them radically. I saw myself taking mental notes on all of it.
I find now that my prayers for them both are more grounded, tangible and full. I hope yours are too.
– Matt Inman