This week a young boy from Sioux Falls passed away from cancer. This morning I read from the Team Tayden FB page, an even younger boy was admitted to hospice. A few months ago, one of the most beautiful woman I loved (Kerri Krump) passed away. And there are so many more lives touched (and taken) every day by cancer.
Six years ago today, as my family waited the cold sterile waiting room of Sanford hospital for 9 hours—I was in the surgery room having my breasts removed. The pain, the emotions, the fear…the questions all return for a visit on this Christmas Eve day.
I remember the morning of my surgery and the hospital chaplin saying to me…someday you will think cancer is a gift. I remember thinking (in not so nice of words)….well, you know what you can do with this gift! Unfortunately, cancer has a ‘no return’ policy. Six years later, I still don’t see cancer as a gift….but please let me share with you what cancer has shown me:
Cancer showed me fear.
—God showed up and held my hand through many friends and family.
Cancer showed me pain.
—God showed up and comforted me through medications.
Cancer showed me fatigue.
—God showed up and reminded me it is okay to rest.
Cancer showed me courage.
—God showed up through cards, words, and love of others.
Cancer showed me love.
—God showed up through others as they walked with us.
Cancer showed me…..that each one of has a purpose in this life….and a choice on how to live it. We can choose to love others. We can choose to forgive. We can choose to embrace every moment of this life.
Now, six years later, I am blessed with the perspective of time.
Yes, cancer robbed me parts of my body and my life. Yes, cancer claimed the lives of some very special people. Yes, cancer sucks!
Cancer, caused by a cell that got it’s wires crossed up…isn’t a choice—and it happens. Left untreated it most likely will kill. To receive treatment is a choice. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and many other options are available to help us fight back. Sometimes the treatment works, sometimes it gives a little more time. Cancer affects all.
Lately, my heart is heavy by another disease that is destroying lives and killing many people. It too starts as a small cell that got it’s wires crossed up…and it starts in the heart and left without treatment it grows to bitterness, anger, resentment, etc.
Thankfully the treatment for this disease, costs little—well, perhaps some of our pride, but this gift once given, will be one of your greatest gifts ever.
Cancer has forced me to slow down…and when a person slows down, they get to see things often missed in the busyness of life. I see so much pain and hurt caused by others to others. Some of it may be intentional, often though I believe it is more of a reaction to their own pain (hurt.) Often, it is a mere misunderstanding…and always it is a great waste of time.
Time…a precious gift!
This Christmas—My prayer and wish for you is to leave your check books and credit cards at home…and give someone who hurt you the gift of forgiveness.