If you've never had your wife come to you with tears in her eyes and say, "I've found a lump in my breast..." then you might want to drop to your knees and thank God right now. But, that's exactly what happened to me...my high-school sweetheart, my best friend, my beloved wife of 28 years had breast cancer.
Thirty-nine months...that's how long my wife survived after the cancer diagnosis. Those thirty-nine months taught me more about love and God and faith, family and true friends, and the human condition than I could possibly compile in a lifetime of books.
In those thirty-nine months, I learned to look beyond the bitterness and ravages of life that were right in front of me and see the intentional , beautiful, intricate and personal touches of an Almighty God that were everywhere around me. I learned to see my wife as the magnificent, fearfully and wonderfully made person that she truly was and to love her more deeply than I ever thought possible. It's during that journey of thirty-nine months that I believe God was preparing me for the inspiration that would become "The Luvya Tree."
My wife was a cherished elementary school teacher and was very active in our local church. During her cancer journey, she received so many cards and homemade gifts and tokens of love that we didn't have enough space to display all of them for her to see and enjoy. On her birthday, April 6, 2013, my son and I decided to cut down a tree from our property and put it up in our living room where we could hang all of the expressions of faith and love that she'd received. We called the tree her "Luvya Tree." She was so deeply moved by the tree and it became such a great source of encouragement for her. From that day until she died on April 27th, excluding nights in the hospital, she slept in a bed next to the Luvya Tree.
During my wife's illness and after her death, I prayed fervently that God would use our "cancer journey" to encourage and inspire others who may be struggling with serious health issues. There were so many very unique events and circumstances that aligned perfectly to provide the inspiration for "The Luvya Tree." Here's just one example. I shared with one of my wife's hospice workers that I wanted to do something special with the wood from the Luvya Tree after my wife's cancer journey was over. The hospice worker replied, "That's interesting, I've just purchased a small lathe and have taken up the hobby of making writing pens from exotic woods and I would be honored to make some pens for you." The pens were beautiful and served as a huge part of my inspiration. In just a few short months after my wife's death, the "The Luvya Tree" was in print.
"The Luvya Tree" tells the story of my family's real life journey as seen through the Luvya Tree's "eyes." I sincerely hope that it will inspire readers of all ages and provide comfort and hope for loved ones who are struggling with a serious illness.
I am living proof that there is a loving, guiding and directing God who is involved personally and intentionally in our lives. Without His divine direction in this Fortune 200 business guy's life, "The Luvya Tree" absolutely would not exist.
D'Wayne Robinson is a Christian father, widower, and Fortune 200-trained business professional and entrepreneur. He and his teenage son, Jared, live in Canfield, Ohio.
"The Luvya Tree"
By D'Wayne Robinson