Cancer. Processing its indirect and painful presence.
Six years ago, my Dad battled with and survived cancer. At that time, the doctor he was seeing repeatedly used the phrase, "Cancer is a family disease," meaning that it effects everyone in the family. It's hard for me to completely agree with that because I was a firsthand witness to the isolating pain and mental anguish that it imposed solely onto my Dad. I'm so grateful that he survived and reassessed his health practices. At the same time, I understand what the doctor's phrase meant because it was one of the most pivotal and important times in my life, as well. It changed everything.
What started me thinking about this was a Facebook status from a friend who is currently fighting cancer. Mark wrote:
I have been asking God for a fresh perspective on this thing called CANCER. He gave me an acronym that I'm now processing: Circumstances And Natural Conditions Exposing Reality.
I can't imagine a more beautiful understanding and revelation of what is one of the most ugly and overwhelming circumstances and conditions. Thank you Mark.
The Reality that c.a.n.c.e.r. exposed is Importance, Relationship, and Goodness. When the temporal nature of everything was suddenly thrusted into my face, the trivial temporal things sifted to the surface and then brushed away by a gust of the unforeseeable. What lie beneath them was Love. Why is cancer worth fighting? Because of Love. Why is cancer so painful? Because of Love.
We often make what is Eternal or less-temporal (Love, Relationships, Consciousness, Prayer, Growth, et cetera) revolve around what is temporal (work, entertainment, selfishness, status, reputation, and so on). Cancer helps reveal the silliness of that profound mistake. Those things aren't bad when they're turned the other way around, to revolve around what is Eternal and less-temporal, but it is when we attempt to make them ladder steps up to a false idea of "someday-love" that we fall with a great crash.
Love. Now. What else is there?
As I take time to pause, I think about Jerry Cook. And Mark. And Steve. And Jim. And Margaret. And all their families. They are with me in my heart and thoughts and I am with them in my prayer.