When we heard the seemingly devastating news of the spread of Will’s cancer, my husband Taylor and I were in shock. From the beginning of this journey, we had every expectation that cancer was something Will would overcome. After all, for over a decade we have watched William set his mind to things and accomplish them, bringing dreams and vision to fruition. That’s just what he does.
The reality and seriousness of the situation weighed heavy on us, as it has for everyone who has been following the Grays over the past 7 months. From Tennessee we spent our days wondering about William, dealing with our own emotions of guilt and fear and feeling selfish for making this about us, when Will and Angie and those much closer to the situation were suffering in ways we could never imagine.
After a series of dreams and God ordained events, we decided to make the trip to LA. This trek was not about saying good-bye to Will, but instead about letting him know that even in his most vulnerable state, he is accomplishing what he has set his life about doing. He is giving, loving and offering hope to people all over the world.
For two days, we watched Angie and her family persevere through physical and emotional exhaustion as they lovingly fought and cared for Will. Will, with body weak and weary, but spirit tenacious and strong spends time reflecting with us between rests. With he usual thoughtful intensity he looks at us with tired eyes and says, “I just wanna have a hope that’s real.”
A real hope. That’s Will’s hope.
Will and Angie have not resigned themselves to the news they received from the doctors in the hospital. They are also not taking a Que Sera Sera approach to these days at home. Their hope is not impotent or passive. Instead it’s almost as if the doctor’s bad news were their marching orders. Angie and her family and a team of homeopathic doctors has actively developed a plan to help Will fight, and to build up his body.
Don’t get me wrong, this hope is not a naive hope that ignores the gravity of the situation. No one is turning a blind eye to the reality that Will is looking death square in the face. Positive thinking and mental pep rallies are not fueling some empty, shallow hope in Will and Angie. Instead deep, authentic, genuine hope resides with them. A hope that can not be mustered or conjured up. One that can not come from inside themselves but instead comes from something Greater than themselves. I’ve seen it demonstrated in acts of love and words of truth. It’s palpable. Spend just a few moments with them, and you will feel it too.
It’s almost as if this 2 Corinthians passage was written as evidence of the authenticity of the hope we have witnessed this week:
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)
Sure, there are questions, moments of sadness, and doubt. But the life of Christ is being revealed in Will and Angie. Their unfathomable faith and peace in the midst of an unimaginable situation is testimony to great grace in their lives. We are all perplexed, wondering how much more we will have to watch Will and Angie suffer through. Waiting for the miracle we are desperate for. But let us, like Will seek to have a hope that is real. God has not abandoned them, nor has he abandoned us.