I’m always on the look out for writing topics. That’s why the parenthetical title of this blog is, All Who Wander Are Not Lost. In my “wandering” I’m always looking for things of this world and connections to the internal or spiritual. Often those revelations serendipitously appear like an ice cube down the back on a hot August day - very startling yet amazingly refreshing. Most of the time, they’re subtle and shy, slow to develop and emerge. I had two ideas brewing for this week’s post. One was on Sabbath and the other focused on my dog, Winston. However, what I’m about to share is the proverbial ice cube on the spine.
I'm part of a speaking cluster meeting every month since January. At gatherings, a guest presents techniques to improve our public pitches. Then, after lunch - today we were allocated a mere 13 minutes - we circle up listening to just a few in the group for 5-minute rotations. Today started off with a curve ball. Instead of 5 minutes and prep time, we’d have a minute-and-a-half to tell a story from our life, extemporaneously.
A good friend went first and did wonderfully relaying a story about his wife and kids. Next, Andrew went and spoke about The Boston Red somebodies or other. It was good, but not New York Yankee good. Somewhere in the pit of my soul, I knew I was next and, sure enough, Dave the Moderator, came through. And of all the things I could’ve talked about, I chose a rather heavy topic.
If, we can be pregnant, then we can have cancer.
About two years ago, actually it was August 4, 2015, my wife and I walked, hand-in-hand, out of the hospital towards our car, in complete silence. I don’t remember much other than beelining to the vehicle. I opened her door - in silence. Inserting the key into the ignition, I started the engine and we drove out of the parking lot - in silence. We weren’t too far down the road when I spoke to Kris with a raspy voice. “Well, I guess if, ‘we can be pregnant,' then ‘we can have cancer.’” Silence.
In the two years since August 4, 2015, the longest day of our lives, through all of the diagnoses, treatments, surgeries, consults, and care, looking back, I’ve come to realize the depth and width my love for Kris and her love for me has grown. Pregnancy usually culminates with the expectant gift of a baby. And, until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t realized so clearly the gift bestowed on us through my wife’s cancer. Our love, faith and sensitivity and love for others have exponentially multiplied beyond what we thought needed. In the darkness of cancer, the light of Christ, of hope, gave birth to things we’re not completely sure would’ve even rooted or sprouted without chemotherapy.
I share this because many of you are in the middle of difficulties you’ve never even imagined could exist. In fact, if you’re like Kris and me, you wouldn’t have selected the pain, worry, heartache, loss or anxiety at all but a more benign path in life. However, if you’re like Kris and me, and I believe you can be, if you can set your eyes on what is pure and lovely and noble and right, whatever is praise-worthy or excellent, you will find a gift at the end of it all that transcends human understanding and effort.
In our desperation, we took on uncommon courage.
Kris and I are nothing special, and I say this honestly, not to be self-effacing, but in truth. We’re ordinary people. But in our desperation, we embraced unforseen courage. Supported by family and friends, in the face of fear, we faced one day at a time, trying to live the next 5 minutes well.
And so, on August 4, 2015, we drove home from Hunterdon Medical Center with a weight in our souls previously unfelt. Silent. She was pregnant...with cancer. Two years later what birthed is a blessing immeasurably more beautiful than we envisioned or thought was required.
So, as you face your “cancer”, whatever darkness it may be, know that Jesus is a redeemer, taking the darts of Hell and death and turning them on their ear, producing the opposite of what was intended. There can be life at the end of this dark tunnel if you keep your eyes on the light of Christ. It will change you; it will mold you, you will never be the same. And the awaiting blessings are unspeakable.
So, as you face your “cancer”, whatever darkness it may be, know that Jesus is a redeemer, taking the darts of Hell and death and turning them on their ear, producing the opposite of what was intended. There can be life at the end of this dark tunnel if you keep your eyes on the light of Christ. It will change you; it will mold you, you will never be the same. God can do such deep, personal work in you through His amazing love; you will, at times, be in awe even as tears flow uncontrollably. And the awaiting blessings are unspeakable.
I leave you with section of Scripture that helped Kris and me through our deepest, darkest days.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9