Learning from cancer

So I’m reading a lot about suffering, struggles, sickness, etc. It’s heavy stuff. But it’s hopeful stuff. I’m making my way through Tim Keller’s excellent book Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering.

Dr. Keller is a giant of the faith…super smart, wry sense of humor, a man who has had his own share of struggles. Yes, please. Give me a man who loves Jesus, has a PhD and has been through cancer – triple threat, Baby. (A far cry from the days when, to me, a real man was any guy who drove a Jeep, wore Birkenstocks and listened to Dave Matthews. Ick. If I met my 16 year old self now, I would basically hate her.)

So Tim Keller talks a lot about how our culture tells us that adversity, suffering and struggle are bad – they are something to get past so we can get on with real life. Suffering such as dealing with cancer is a life disruption, a snag, an interruption from our regularly scheduled programming. But reality – biblical, real life? It says this is IMPORTANT. It’s not an accident, it’s not punishment and it’s not to be squandered. Which brings about another one of my cancer boyfriends (i.e. spiritual advisors I have never personally met) John Piper – now, he’s said some, in my opinion, unnecessarily annoying things on some controversial subjects, but I choose to ignore those, and focus on the wisdom I think he does possess. His challenge to someone like me is “don’t waste your cancer.” Intriguing, no? It’s a whole new way of looking at this kind of situation. Here are some of the more interesting ideas:

You’ll waste your cancer if…

-you don’t believe it was designed for you by God. (Whoa! Can that be true? I think it probbaly is. It’s ok if you don’t. But think about God’s soveignty – if He’s in control of everything, He can choose what to allow and what not to.)

-you consider it only to be a curse and not a blessing. (Again. Whoa. My cancer can be a blessing. It’s hard to think this way, I know. But I can see how this is possible. It’s not easy to believe that might be true. But it’s worth some consideration.)

There are other interesting and challenging ideas in this piece. See them here.  http://m.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/don’t-waste-your-cancer-1383847.html

In other news, Mort the Port is healing well. I am gaining confidence in movement – at first, it just felt icky, and I did not want to move at all, worrying that I might dislodge it or something, but that is improving a lot. Chemo begins Thursday. I am pretty confident, however, it should be noted that I have a pattern that I’ve noticed. I don’t worry about upcoming doc appointments, I don’t think too much about them. I arrive in a sunny, calm mood, and suddenly unexpectedly intrusive, embarrasing or painful things are happening that I have not mentally or emotionally prepared for. So, I’m trying to consider that they will probably tell me something disappointing, ask me to take me clothes off or hurt me with a needle in a way that I was not expecting. I will report back later in the week, on what the unanticipated experience of the day is.

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