Thankful for Cancer

What!?

Thankful FOR cancer? Yup. I know, it’s crazy. Let me explain.

Do I enjoy having cancer? No. I am praying like crazy every day that all of the cancer cells are gone and they never come back. I am kind of mad that I have cancer. I mean, it’s totally not, like, fair. Not that anyone deserves it. No one does. Or maybe we all do, depending on how deep you want to get from a theological perspective. But I definitely hate it that I have cancer. I hate it that my life has been so totally disrupted. I mean, I’m busy. Not just busy getting my nails done or something, but busy raising a daughter to be a (hopefully) really great person. Busy raising the operating budget of a large nonprofit organization that helps homeless people. Busy kicking everyone in my league’s butt at Fantasy Football. You know…important things. I do not like feeling tired. I am nervous I will lose my hair (but maybe just the hair that enjoys to appear on my upper lip? Please, Lord!) I hate it that I have to be so “all about me.” I like to help other people with their problems. It’s unnatural for me to be the recipient. I hate all of this medicine I take. I am tired of doc appointments. My hands and feet don’t feel normal. So…don’t get me wrong. Cancer blows.

But I’m still thankful. I mean, what good does sitting around crying and worrying about it do? Bitterness is dangerous. It chokes everything around it. Have you met someone you would describe as bitter – embittered by some bad thing they feel happened to them? Do you want to hang out with them? Me neither. Some emotions like fear and sorrow are legit, of course. It would be inauthentic to pretend they don’t exist. But, in my opinion, they ought to be acknowledged, invited to stay for a short while and then politely asked to leave so there is room for better emotions like hope and peace and confidence. The long and short of it is this: God is working together all things for my good and His glory. Sometimes it takes a little effort to bring our minds back to that truth. But what a solid place to live from!

I am thankful to be thinking about the things I am thinking about, in terms of who God is, who we are and how we are to approach life. See previous blog entries for a lot of thoughts about that. I am thankful that it is possible to have HOPE every day. I am thankful I am not sicker. I can drive and walk and work. THANKFUL for that.

I am thankful that this has pushed me to think seriously about what I eat and what products I use. I have learned a lot. I have also confused myself and stressed myself out quite a bit. But I’m learning new things.

I am thankful that cancer has brought a few familiar faces back into my life. We all let friendships fade for any number of reasons. But serious illness snaps us all to attention and reminds us how much we love some of the best people we’ve had the blessing to know.

I am so thankful for the kind things people have done for me. Seriously! So much niceness! So much thoughtful generosity. Just this week:

-meals delivered to or prepared at my house by people who are encouraging my new, developing eating habits.

-someone saved me a parking spot with their car. like “here, I’ll give you this one so you don’t have to walk in the cold.”

-home-roasted coffee beans, delivered to my desk

-lovely visits over lunch at favorite restaurants

-treats dropped off with sweet notes

-offers of child care

-wine deliveries

-a text that meant the world to me

-people sharing my blog with others – I can’t believe anyone but my mom reads this, so that is pretty cool.

Being thankful for something that on the surface is very bad.  It’s the stuff Scripture is made of.  The last shall be first, the first shall be last.  Weakness leads to real stregnth.  To receive, we must give.  Jesus won it all by the humble act of losing everything.  Rejoice in ALL circumstances.  (Not just the ones that involve cake and ice cream or healthy babies or a sale at Anthropologie.)

I am thankful for the perspective that comes from a diagnosis like this that points to toward valuing each moment and each day a little more. Seeing more clearly, noticing things I haven’t before. Directing my thoughts toward things that are worthy of my brainspace. “Did I make it count, today?” I ask myself. Was today as rad as it could have been? Did I love as fully as I can? Did I let go of the things not meant for me, and cling to the big, wonderful things? Did I trust God more today than yesterday? Did I yield my own will to His? Did I look for the opportunities set before me? I may have many more days on this earth. But if I have one or 100 or 20,000…I’m living like I mean it, yo. That is something to be thankful for.

4 Replies to “Thankful for Cancer”

  1. A friend of yours brought you before our congregation for prayer on Sunday, and then she sent me this link thinking that I'd appreciate it. I did! Blessings to you, and prayers that you might know the kinds of joy for which we pray each day.

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