This is our friend Jeff.
He and my husband hiked the Alps back in 2007 and again in 2009 when my husband was researching the trilogy that he is now near completing. (Convenient, wasn’t it, that he set the books in a place like Switzerland that required several “research” trips!)
It takes a good friend to go up in a helicopter like this in the Alps and fly down into the mountain canyons and against the steep slopes! I think they both thought the pilot was going to crash a few times!
Jeff’s wife Elizabeth and I have said we all 4 need to go to Europe, but our children were rather young then, and we weren’t up for that much hiking and adventure! We’d travel a little differently, I’m sure.
We met Jeff and Elizabeth when we all lived in Charlottesville. They were doing their medical residencies and working while my husband was working on his Ph.D. in Religious Studies. We were in small group together with them and 3 other couples.
Here is most of our small group at a Tennessee football game.
Here we are hiking in the Smokies together.
Hiking was a huge part of my husband’s life until living in the Midwest! Chicagoland is not like Virginia or East Tennessee where he lived in the mountains as much as possible through college and grad school.
As the years passed, we kept in touch more with Jeff and Elizabeth because we all had family in Memphis, and they lived in TN, making it easier to connect. They were there with us around the time our daughter was born 3 months early while we were in Memphis. I flew down to St. Jude when their son was diagnosed with leukemia. Jeff has visited us in Chicago when in town for medical meetings. We’ve overlapped our trips in summers and holidays in Memphis where we’ve had countless dinners and times where we talk about a lot of theology or medicine.
Jeff and Elizabeth recently adopted a little girl from Ethiopia. While there, he got sick, was taken to the ER where they discovered a brain tumor, and he was medically evacuated back to the States and told to undergo emergency brain surgery upon arrival in Washington DC.
7 months later, we are still praying for a miracle. We went to visit them this last Thursday (Thanksgiving) and Friday for just about 24 hours, a quick flight in and back out the next evening. It was good to be with them and see and understand more of what they are experiencing.
When I think of Jeff, I think of the verse in Micah about what the Lord requires of us: but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. I think that verse well describes Jeff.
As Jeff wrote in October:
“I continue to pray for complete healing and am still thankful for every moment God gives. This is a challenging prayer because, at least at times, my logic and God’s logic do not match up. Then I must rely on Him.
‘… yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.’ Habakkuk 3:18″
If you are one of the few people who read my blog, please say a prayer for Jeff and his family if you think about it.