No Regrets

When the end seems near in our lives, or in the life of someone we love, we often draw near to that person and look back on the past. In looking back we often have two types of thoughts: regret or joy.

While my mom's life still seems to hang by a thread, one thought has rung through my head over the last week and that is the fact that my mom does not have to sit at the hospital steeped in regret. As I watch the loving care that my dad has provided her I see a marriage that has been full of joy, challenge and triumph. My parents have spent an abundance of time with one another, not in argument or struggle, but in joy and love. They have struggled as has any married couple but they've always worked it out and always worked together on everything they've done since they've been married.

When it comes to my relationship with my mom I also have no feelings of regret. While it took my mother many years to teach me how to really hug her, she finally taught me how by the end of my senior year of college. That has perhaps been our biggest challenge! Both of my parents were there for me in some of my most difficult trials all throughout my life and because of both my dad and mom I have developed into a growing Christian. Also we have been a family who has spent time together whether it be on family vacations or by playing a round of chickenfoot at the dinner table. Many a nights when I was younger did we share a good laugh at dinner time.

No regrets. Not a single person has come to my mother's bedside asking for apologies for past hurts or pains. Not a single person has come because not enough time was spent together or true feelings were not spoken. Not that I've witnessed anyways, and I've witnessed a lot of people in the past week.

I shall strive to be the same all of my days.


More Than a Mom

I have been quite surprised to find out my mom is, well, more than just a mother. It seems like an obvious conclusion that any normal son should draw within the first few waking hours of ones' life. But no, it's just now dawning on me at the ripe old age of 24.

As most of you know, my mom is undergoing an intense battle of cancer. Since I prefer to only expose my private life at will, I will keep hers' at that short description. However this has been a very serious week which has necessitated all of my family to return from all over the country and also for me to return from Japan.

The thing I have discovered is that my mom is more than just a mother. She is also a sister, a friend, and even, get this...a troublemaker! I have listened to some of her friends recount stories of what they did when they were kids or even as college students. Frankly I've always thought my mom simply did her homework and perhaps read Laura Ingles Wilder. But no! She too went to college parties, was adventurous and traveled the countryside on road trips and more! Can you believe it?! I can't!

Fascinating what you can find out about one's life. I will truly have ammunition on her now when she gets out of the hospital to say, "But when you were a girl you did..." Don't think I don't plan on using this new found knowledge to my advantage!

Seriously though, it is great to see the outpouring of love that has been dedicated to my mom. In my selfish mind she has only lived to serve me and perhaps my brothers. But behind the scenes, outside of the Blackwell household, she has been doing the very same for many others throughout the years. Hopefully we can all hope the same holds true for us when our critical point in life comes.

Love ya Mom!


Oh Billy!

Well I'm back in the US. Sunday morning I was awakened to the news that I should immediately fly back to be with my mom and family due to her fight with cancer. After a lot of help from dedicated friends I found myself at Tokyo airport Monday evening and back in OKC on...Monday evening. I love how that works.

Thankfully I had several gentle waves of reentry shock that helped me reorient to the US before I was even back on American soil. The chief wave came from a bunch of noisy college students who apparently had been on a mission trip somewhere. I was too terrified to ask; I hadn't seen that many Americans in ages and I was afraid to talk to them. I also sat by a person who was probably the first person I had meet in four months who wasn't even vaguely interested in my life so I was able to get used to the idea that I'm only cool and popular (in at least what we call the orthodox views of coolness) in Japan. So needless to say when I stepped off to be met by airport personnel wearing a cowboy hat, belt buckle, and boots I wasn't shocked in the least.

Language continues to amaze me. Only a week prior my English was fairly clean, precise, and even for the most part grammatically accurate. Three days off of the plane and I have slipped back to saying such things as "Oh Billy..." and "Well, I'll be..." Amazing how we can't forget our roots.

As for my mom, it makes me uncomfortable to post much on the web so I won't. I will say that we have our up days and our down days. Cancer leaves you with an air of uncertainties that is hard to ever quell. But then life is full of uncertainties and still we push on.

I'm not sure if this post really flows, and I'm only going to proofread for grammatical and spelling errors but I felt the need to post. Take care.



Three and a half months later, I'm not the same Blakewell.

It amazes me the adaptability of the human spirit given the right attitude. Now, not to rag on my American readers (is rag still used in the English language?), but those living in America have got it made. Basically everything your heart has ever desired is at your disposal. Every type of food, every first run of any movie (Star Wars comes to mind here), and having a bedroom twice the size of my apartment is easily available to any American.

Yet, when you move outside of America, your whole world begins to change. First, one of the most basic needs according to Maslow is food, and boy does that ever change. We're not talking about eating seaweed, squid or even octopus as a neat "International" experience. We're talking about eating seaweed as a way to survive!

However, that is merely one side of the coin. One of the things that has really amazed me is that you become content with what you have, not with what you think you need. If you have a car you are blessed. No longer is the fact that you would like to have Mr. Honda important; a car with a steering wheel on the right-hand side will do just fine. If you get ice cream, and it tastes pretty close to vanilla for 300 Yen (roughly $2.85) you're also doing good. Forget the gummy bears, birthday cake ice cream, and sprinkled-covered cone.

Also, going from a house with probably has over two thousand square feet to an apartment with maybe a bit more than two hundred square feet is also not as bad as it sounds. The old hallway at Dimaggio's house has probably more room than my shower room, toilet room, kitchen, and entrance combined. But you learn that is also survivable too, and sometimes you wonder what to do with the extra 50 square feet you are currently doing nothing with.

All that said to briefly harp on two things. One, if you live in America, realize how blessed you are. No other country in the world has it so good, not even a country so affluent and technologically advanced as Japan. Japan's biggest advantage over America is the toilets which will spray you with water after you're done with your business, make a noise to prevent you from being rude, or create a nice scent if you're getting a little out of control. Two if you do live in a foreign country realize how much God has blessed you in any situation. And enjoy yourself! The seaweed really isn't that bad!


Natsukashi Neh (Remembering the Good Ole Days)

I have not completly longed for home until I heard this here fantastic story about the "Lord God Bird" down there in the delta area of Arkansas. These people speak my language, know what I mean? Here, I got ya some good quotes for ya to listen for and like:

'Now if it was a new duck it'd be the greatest thing in the world...'

'...The woodpecker, sittin' on his nest, doing whatever it is woodpeckers do...'

'...like he'd been ressurrected or something...'

'...if they can pay taxes, and go to Walmart...and free enterprise. Oh! That's America! That's what makes us great!'


The King and I

I think David and I would have been good friends. Now I don't believe I could have held my weight against his friend Jonathan by any stretch of the imagination but certainly it would have been nice to hang out at David's pad every once in awhile and shoot the breeze.

By now you may or may not have guessed that I am talking about King David, the 2nd King of Israel. But besides wanting to hang out at the palace my longings for being his friend might not be clear.

You see, this has been a crazy week. The reason I haven't even attempted a blog is because I just haven't felt like writing due to all of the many things going on right now in my life. Chief among those concerns is my mother, who I found out has cancer nearly a week and a half ago. And so this week I have lived in confusion, concern, doubt and hope. Thus I turned to the Psalms, a place I usually turn to in the darkest of times.

Why I like David so much, and why I would love to be his friend is that he is always positive. Even in his dispair he is positive. When you read the Psalms you get a glimpse into what he's thinking at different points of his chaotic life. Take for example Psalm 13:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
my enemy will say, 'I have overcome him',
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
for he has been good to me.

I love how his Psalms always end overwhelming positive and prasing God for His goodness. I hope that my family and I can do that in the coming weeks and months ahead. I hope as Christians we can always do that no matter the circumstances of our lives.

Sorry, I don't mean to preach but like David I don't want to have just an overwhelmingly down tone even in times of saddness and confusion. And thus lets praise God for His goodness at times like these!