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Trey Douglas Mitlo was born on May 12th, 2008.  Young Warrior was unveiled on December 24, 2010.  That means that as of August 8th, 2013 (give or take leap year and/or mathematical semantics) Trey had lived more of his life being diagnosed with cancer than before.

I had thought about this several times and wondered what it meant or signified.  What could I draw from it?  Did it “mean” anything or was it just a “huh, how about that?” kind of thing?  Several things came to mind.

Before that day, Trey was just Trey.  We never called him “Young Warrior.”  Oh, looking back there were tell tale signs of his warrior spirit and nature in effect back then.  We just didn’t recognize them as such.  He was tough, resilient, determined, and stubborn.  When he was done doing something my boy was done.  It was his way, his time, his world, more so than even his “Sassy Princess” of a sister.

Little did we know then that these, and other, traits would be unveiled if not unleashed in the coming weeks, months and years.  Once diagnosed, his full warrior spirit with the strength of thousands praying for him was unleashed for the world to see and experience.  He has met every challenge and never broken…never bent really.  Oh, we have swayed, we have retreated but he has gone full bore.  After his collapsed lung, after his surgery that almost ended his life, he was on a 0% fat diet.  Not a low fat diet…0%.  It was the hardest part of his treatment for me.  He went down to 28 pounds and we couldn’t give him anything with a trace of fat in it.  It broke my heart all day every day and was a real pain in the @ss.  He pushed through and fought.  Fought for fat I suppose but also to still love life and laugh.  No, he has not wavered.

I suppose, in a way, we all have traits that are there, just waiting to be exposed and/or engaged.  No, this isn’t a “realize your potential” post.  Don’t go looking for yours.  I’m sure if you could find it you couldn’t tap into it anyhow.  It’s there for when it is necessary.  It’s there waiting to answer whatever calls it out of it’s lair.  It will be there when the time comes.  I’m sure mine did.

Another thing that I have derived from this is that (much as we know) Trey is still completely unaware of his predicament.  Logically, one could assume that his world is just that…his.  He doesn’t know that every 2,3, 4, and now 5 year old doesn’t do what he does and go through what he experiences.  As adults, we sure do.  We are more than aware that everyone doesn’t face whatever it is that we face.  Truth be told, and this is something God has imprinted heavy on my heart, that everyone is facing some battle.  It’s just not the same battle.

When I was taking a seminary class years ago (Systematic Theology with the great Dr. Art Lindsley) I surmised that when we have negative emotions that it is an over focus on ourselves and an under focus on God.  Granted, I COMPLETELY disagree with that now but allow me to change it a bit.  I would now declare that having a hesitancy to engage in a battle that God has called you to is an over focus on your “weakness” and an under focus on God’s strength.  So many great biblical leaders spent quite some time arguing with the Lord as to why they weren’t able to face a battle or engage in something that the Lord had put upon them.  Noah, Gideon, Moses, and others told God why they weren’t able to do what He was calling them to do.  God answered them and patiently waited for them to see that He would be the one battling through them.  We are the same way.

Lastly, the significance of this tipping point, if you will, lies in the mourning of others.  I thought of those who have completed their battle with cancer since Trey was diagnosed.  Many have been diagnosed after he was and been called home before his diagnosed demise has come to pass.  I say this not out of a lifting up of Trey but a recognition of the pain of so many.  Seven brave warriors in their own right come to mind and that is from cancer alone, the last of which being in the past few weeks.  They all were important members of our Pray (and more) for Trey community and were greatly impacted by our Young Warrior.  I know that they are patiently awaiting his arrival in heaven.  One of their loved ones said to me, “Jay, he (her loved one) can wait…he is ready to wait a long time to welcome Trey home.”  There have been many other ways that loved ones have been lost since Trey was diagnosed and the pain of each one is so very real.

Yes, I suppose Young Warrior is older than Trey.  We all hope and pray that he dwarfs him in years to come.  Regardless, knowing that he is walking in his battle with the gifts bestowed upon him, not dwelling on his “weaknesses” or challenges that face him, and has the strength of those who have walked these steps before him and with him alongside the prayers of those who loved them, makes all the difference.

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