I wrote a while back about a young boy named Jackson. Jackson has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor imbedded in his brain stem that is impossible to remove with surgery. Since January of this year… they haven’t given Jackson more than two years to live.
For my wife’s birthday the other night, we went out with a few friends to this pizza joint and Jackson joined his Aunt Megan (a good friend of my wifes) for the festivities.
Jackson has been through a lot. The tumor has pushed Jackson’s left eye at an angle. The steroids he has taken have made him gain weight. The chemo he’s had to endure has made him tired. I can’t imagine how the mind of a six-year-old could wrap itself around the seriousness of his condition.
Yet… he’s entirely calm.
He and his Aunt Megan joined us at our table this early evening and Jackson was beaming at his newest work of art: a cross that appeared he had cut out and colored with a few different shades of blue and red. It was only several weeks earlier when we had joined Jackson and a few of his friends at his mother’s house for his “Birthday of New Health!” You see, Jackson said that God told him that on THIS day… he was going to be getting healthier.
I’d always been impressed at Jackson’s faith. The faith of a child is always humbling for me to experience because they’ve been untarnished by the workings of the World we live in. I don’t know what his conversations are like with God… but I’m positive they’re better and more frequent than mine.
My eyes were drawn away from Jackson’s cross for a moment to a necklace that his Aunt Megan was wearing. It was a medallion displaying a tree and underneath its root system there was a tiny yellow dot. When I inquired to her about the necklace she said, “Oh this is Jackson’s necklace! It’s a tree!” (the tree of life I’m assuming) and then pointing to the yellow dot she said, “And this is the mustard seed! Are you familiar with the mustard seed quote in the Bible?” I was indeed familiar with it:
I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move. – Matthew 17:20
As a Christian I’ve never been one to bombard other Christians, non-Christians, agnostics or atheists with my beliefs as to how we should all live our lives. I’m not an aggressor and I don’t ever intend to be. Rather… I hope that the way I live my life is witness to my faith.
After spending two hours with Jackson… I realized I’m not doing that good of a job!
While our situations are vastly different he deserves more of a right THAN I to be completely pissed with God! His brain tumor could potentially end his life! My stress and self-loathing are completely self-generated! Who has the more serious issue here!
Yet from Jackson’s lips there is no ill will.
After the pizza place, we all went to Baskin-Robbins to get some ice cream. Jackson wanted to ride in the car with Bunny, DLG and I… I’m assuming because I’m the coolest dude he’s probably ever met. On our way to Baskin-Robbins, Jackson chatted away about what his favorite music was, what school was like and how he felt. DLG would try to add her two cents in her own inimitable way and Jackson would nod approvingly.
Once we arrived at the ice cream store and made our way in to the facilities, DLG reached for Jackson’s hand and said, “I want to hold yo hand!” Jackson obliged and they walked into the store together. A short while later, DLG put her arm on Jackson’s shoulder and said, “Jackson… I love you!” A lump formed in my throat.
I don’t know what Jackson thought… he wasn’t saying much at this point. In fact, a few minutes after that he begged for Megan to take him home because he was ready to go to bed. Before he left, I made sure to give him a hug. I wanted him to know how much he meant to me, how much I’m pulling for him and how much I love him too. His “mustard seed” faith has moved mountains of worry, stress and guilt from off my heart. His faith has made my faith stronger.
Jackson’s speaks to you without saying a word. He’s truly an incredible little boy.
Read more of Jackson’s story here.