Just Show Up

As some of you have heard, Todd Rupp, one of our Student Ministry pastors, is leaving us and taking a new job in Chicago.  Todd started at Emmanuel as an intern right out of college.  He served two years and then was hired on full time.  That was over 10 years ago.  Todd has changed quite a bit since then and has taught us all a few things along the way.  I’m going to miss Todd, his wife Julie and their two little ones.  I wrote this for one of his multiple going away parties.


Going through chemotherapy when you have cancer is anything but a holiday.  I know.  I was diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer on April 6th of 2005.  I had been having back pains and the doctor thought I had kidney stones, but when he could’t contain my pain with high doses of pain killers, I was sent to the ER.  Then the doctor took X-rays and came back with the news.

“I’m sorry.  I don’t like this part of my job, but you have cancer.”

Cancer!  It’s a scary word and a scarier disease.  And as bad as the disease was, there were days when the chemotherapy cure seemed worse.


Tingling in my fingers and ears.

Non-stop trips to the bathroom because of the high doses of water I drank to keep my kidneys from shutting down.

No hair on my body.

Yes, there were days when the cure seemed worse than the disease.  July 4th, 2005 was one of those days.

No one wants to be in the hospital.  And no one wants to be in the hospital on a holiday, but there I was with my wife.  Getting chemotherapy for 5 hours straight on the 4th of July.  Meanwhile, the rest of the world was eating hot-dogs and hamburgers with their family and friends.  The rest of of world was lighting sparklers and waiting for the fireworks that night.

But not us.

So there we sat when suddenly, in walked Todd and Julie Rupp.  I don’t remember what they said.  I don’t remember what they brought with them.  They just showed up.  They could have been eating hot-dogs and hamburgers.  They could have been lighting sparklers and fireworks.  But they didn’t.  They came to sit with a lonely, cancer patient and his wife.

I still can’t tell the story without getting choked up.  I don’t know if Todd and Julie realized what that short visit meant to Sara and I.  But I learned a life lesson that July 4th.

If you ever wonder, “Should I show up and visit that person who is sick or hurting or lonely or whatever?”  The answer is yes.

The answer is always yes.  Do what Todd and Julie did.

Just show up.


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