January 15, 2014


There is a phrase in Spanish, ¨me da igual,¨ which means ¨It is the same to me.¨  It is perhaps closest to the phrase in English ¨I could go either way.¨ or ¨I have no preference.¨

This is the place I stand today as we go to the hospital to do the last exploratory surgery and get the results of a biopsy which could change the course of my daughter´s life.

I don´t mean indifference in the irresponsible or aloof sense of ¨I don´t care.¨  I mean the place of indifference that one comes to in the ¨Desert Fathers´ sense¨ of being at peace with whatever the road is.  Of being indifferent to my preference, to my logic, to my desire, to my viewpoint, to my will.  It is both a terrifying and sweet point of surrender to the will of the Sovereign God and His choice of a perfect, good and loving plan.

In the last few weeks of tests, wondering and waiting, the ¨wake-up¨ moment came when the Dr. finally said they had found ¨the source of the bad cells.¨ He seemed so sure.  I guess we had been hoping they wouldn't find anything besides the little umbilical tumor that had begun this whole mysterious search.  Today this will be confirmed or not.  The Drs. have absolutely no explanation as to why one so young would have this kind of illness - to be specific, stomach cancer.

In the 4 days between his sober announcement and today, there has been a swinging back and forth between fear and faith, reality and shock, hope and sadness...and waiting.

By faith, we have asked for healing, gathered faith-filled praying friends to exert their faith to pray for healing and have proclaimed our own mustard seeds of childlike trust in Rapha, the One who heals.

In the quieter moments of surrender, we have sat in His presence and whispered ¨not my will, but Yours.¨ We have acknowledged His right to choose whatever tools He deems necessary. We have expressed our trust and hope in His sovereign, complete vision of life and the kingdom.

In the more raw moments of struggle, we have cried, asked questions, fought off a fog of sadness and fatigue and challenged the logic and injustice in all of this - especially in one so young, in one who is one semester away from graduating from university with honors, ready to take on the world.

In our rebellious, warring moments we have raised our voices to proclaim the power of the Resurrected One over her, we have been furious at the enemy from whom all forms of evil derive, and we have taken out all kinds of ammunition in the The Fight:  Scriptures, prayers, fasting, anointing with oil, proclamations of faith and truths about healing and faith and the character of the New Testament Christ.

In the end, perhaps it could best be described that I have chosen an expectant peacefulness. Whether the road is a miraculous healing or a new journey in illness previously unknown to us, miraculously (I seriously mean miraculously!), I seem to have faith for it.

My indifference is a victory.  My indifference is a gift.  My indifference is a reflection of praying friends.  And my indifference is a reflection of the kindness of the God I have walked with since my youth and have come to know and love with all my heart.  He has proved Himself very worthy of this childlike trust.

Today as I accompany her into that hospital, I can truly say:

¨Me da igual.¨

Here is an old Ignatian definition or expression of ¨indifference¨:

¨For this it is necessary that we become indifferent to all created things so that, on our part, we want not health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, long rather than short life, and so in all the rest; desiring and choosing only what helps us praise, reverence, and serve God.  This detachment comes only if we have a stronger attachment; therefore our one dominating desire and fundamental choice must be to live in the loving presence and wisdom of Christ, our Savior.¨ 

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Spanish founder of the Jesuits

Photo by:  hockadilly


  1. This is beautiful, Pam, deep faith through pain. May the Lord continue to give you His peace and joy during this time. Praying.

  2. Thank you, dear friend, for your kindness thru this blog. Can´t wait to talk in person some day!

  3. What deep waters to walk through.....getting to "expectant peacefulness" is truly not an easy journey. Thanks for sharing so honestly. Our hearts are so heavy and many here are praying for you.

  4. Thank you...so glad to have the family "with" us.

  5. Thinking of you my friend … of Bruce … all the kids … and knowing that He has you all in His hands … at same time, broken within for you who are part of us. Wish we could be there to serve you in any needed way right now… We are knocking heaven's Throne and asking for His hands upon you and Jena. Que El os sostenga com su paz! Los amamos a todos!

  6. Pam, I'm grateful for this place that you've come to. It is clearly the work of Holy and merciful Father that you are able to rest in this peace. I am praying for each of you and for the medical process. Love to you all.

  7. Beautifully said Pam! More beautifully lived out in your life. Praying with you!

  8. Hi Pam! I am a friend of Pearl & John's. My prayers are with your daughter. Our family has walked this "cancer road" (stage 3 & 4) as well, and we've had successful results outside the medical industry. I sent Pearl our story and some encouragement for your family via FB message. So if you are interested, ask her to share it with you. Or I'd be happy to share our cancer survival stories with you personally if you'd like. In the meantime, may God's blessings grace and peace be with you and your family in the name of Christ Jesus!

  9. Pam, Annette and I have been praying for Jen (and your whole family).
    We will try to stay faithful on the path of prayer with you and ask that
    the whole Sider family experience the blessing of a true

  10. Thank you, dearest friends, we are truly being carried by all the prayers. It is so tangible it blesses me every day. love to all of you

  11. Thank you, Cindy, I´ll certainly ask Pearle for that! We are eager listeners for all God might want to say right now...

  12. We appreciate you guys. Your prayers are GIFTS.

  13. Pam and Bruce,
    Thank you for writing this very challenging reflection. For my part I will keep praying for the promised healing in heaven to invade this time and the space of her earthly body. I am hoping that will bring the most glory to God, but may his will be done.

  14. Thanks, Mark. Thanks for your prayerful & encouraging support. bless you

  15. Hi Bruce and Pam,

    I read recently about the day that a parent receives the diagnosis that his/her child has a terminal disease. Researches have concluded that some parents have PTSD that relates to the very day the diagnosis is announced. I had never thought what it was like for my mom and dad to learn at the same time - that all three of their boys had cystic fibrosis.

    Your perspective and insights remind me of another truth. Each of us (Jenna included) have a faith journey. Your faith is stretched with this traumatic discovery. Jenna's even more so. With each trial we face (as I have discovered) faith grows. It is not pointless. It is, as you put it so well, a reminder to live lives of acceptance, not with worry for tomorrow.

    Thank you for your insights, Pam.

  16. I wanted to stop in and say I pray constantly for your daughter and family. You are on our hearts and in our prayers. We have never met, I met Bruce shortly one time. I am cousins wt Bonnie, "the family of La Mancha" ... Your post was beautiful and such a poignant take on that oh so familiar phrase-- when it comes out of my teens mouth all the time doesn't quite resonate that simplistic beauty that you have described in leaning on the Savior! And such a lovely quote by Saint Ignatious! All is well in our soul! May God give you the strength and peace that transcends all understanding! Un abrazo, Maura


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