Pressin’ On September/October

As I sat listening to Eddie Baca and Melinda Mayben talk about their brave battles with cancer, all I could think about was my own father’s recent journey down the same winding road.

Brad Baca’s description of how he felt when he first heard his Dad share the devastating news rang so true to me. It was as if Brad had taken a page out of my journal and started reading it out loud.

Like Melinda Mayben in the case of breast cancer, my father has always known that genetics were not on his side when it came to the possibility of him someday getting prostate cancer. But just like Melinda and Eddie, Dad has always trusted God. That test of his faith came after a series of tests continued to show elevations in his PSA levels. After several followups, a biopsy and a second opinion, we finally heard the dreaded word cancer. But I also, in almost the same breath, heard my father reassure the family that God would take care of us. He had cancer, but he was the one reassuring us—how ironic.

Every day, for the last several I-don’t-know-how-many years, usually before 7 a.m., my father sends out a daily scripture devotional to my entire family. It’s his way of staying connected to us and keeping us connected to the Word of God.

During these last few months since his surgery and then after receiving a clean bill of health from doctors, I’ve truly learned not to sweat the small stuff. Sure, I’ve always known that to be good, sound advice, but, for me, it was often easier said than done. Day by day, though, I’m learning to trust that God is always and will forever be in control—no matter what comes our way.

And don’t even get me started on Carl ‘Van’ Bowen, III. He and my mother have always been “two peas in a pod” dating (now that word will get some people talking!) back to their days working together at Vivian Fowler Elementary School. Whether it was a Christmas parade float or a contest against another elementary campus, it was hard to stop the Bowen-Roberts team. They were a force to be reckoned with.

A very private person, this is the first time Van is publicly sharing, in detail, what life has been like for him since the tragic Mount Pleasant bus wreck a little more than six months ago. While Impress first covered the aftermath a month after the accident happened, Van was in no shape, at the time, to do much talking much less a full interview. But true to his word, he recently sat down with me and shared his remarkable journey. I felt honored and privileged that he trusted me to tell his story and I probably have enough notes and audio for 10 more stories (Van, call me if you decide you want to write a book!). Seeing Van Bowen walk on the football field this summer forever solidified my belief in the divine power of prayer and the goodness of God.

By Sonya Roberts-Woods