I’m currently dealing with many old wounds being brought up. A pastor at my church, (whom I barely know, yet admire immensely for his compassion and work with others) was just diagnosed with cancer. It crushed me! It affected me and continues to affect me way more than it should. I immediately had words with God. (That’s street talk for ‘we had it out.’) I was so mad at God. How could you let cancer affect someone so wonderful? Someone so young? Someone who does so much to spread love and caring around this world? Someone who has a beautiful wife and two young children? Why would you allow someone like that to be afflicted? I just don’t get it.
This brought me closer in to the Lord…I find myself in prayer constantly for this man. I feel so deeply sad for him and his family. I know they’re in for a long term struggle and I feel so helpless! I feel like there’s nothing I can do to help him. Yes, I can and do pray for healing and peace…but aside from that, there’s not much one can do for cancer.
I had a short conversation with him at church the other day. I had already decided I only wanted to lift this man up, always be encouraging, never say anything negative. I wanted to make sure that he only got hope…so I had already decided to NOT mention anything of the many, many family members I’ve lost to cancer. Only a week before I found out about his diagnosis, I lost my cousin to a rare form of incurable cancer. And yet, somehow my stupid mouth spewed out about my dad. Shit. I didn’t want to say that. I didn’t want him to know that my dad didn’t make it (because I wanted him to have hope that anyone can make it!) So, I tried to clarify right away- I pointed out that my dad did not want treatment and he gave up and let cancer eat him alive. My dad was diagnosed at Stage IV only because he waited so long to seek help for feeling sick. My dad hated hospitals and doctors and it took my mom forever to get him to agree to go see what was wrong. So, my dad agreed to surgery for the cancer, but he refused to do chemo or radiation. I remember my parents fighting about it multiple times. My mom felt (and still feels) abandoned by my dad. She just couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t want to fight it and try to live through it. So, in realizing that I just told my pastor friend about someone who died of cancer, I tried to show him the difference- that he was going to fight it and my dad didn’t. That he would have hope even though my dad didn’t.
Let’s not even go near the fact that I now believe that maybe my dad thought he deserved to die. He was a sexual predator- he had preyed upon and abused his little brother and his daughter. I can’t help but wonder if he felt guilty, if he felt that this was karma. Maybe he just accepted his cancer as a death sentence and that might be why he refused to fight it.
Maybe that’s part of why it’s affecting me so deeply.
Cancer has cut through me over and over and over again- with each family member it’s taken. And then all these memories come flooding back…my dad with cancer, dying at my house when I was little. I have one very distinct memory: my dad was yellow because the cancer had caused bile to spill into his body. He got up from the bed and rushed to the bathroom and started vomiting. As a little kid, I didn’t know what to do to help. So, I stood with my father and gently rubbed his back while he was bent over the toilet. In between bouts of vomiting, he yelled at me to stop and get away. At the time, I was deeply hurt. I was only trying to help and didn’t know what to do. As an adult, I can understand that when someone is nauseated, rubbing their back probably only makes them feel more sick. So, I understand why he pushed me away. But, that’s pretty much the last memory I have of interacting with my dad. My next memory is of him laying in his casket.
Cancer is in remission for the amazing guy I started off writing this post about. YAAAAAYYYY!!! I can’t exclaim that enough! I am so happy for him and his family! I thank God every single day for his healing and I pray that God continues to keep his body free of cancer. 🙂
So much has happened internally with regards to this situation. Since I first wrote this post, I’ve been in serious prayer daily for his healing and that’s brought me face to face with all kinds of issues that I personally have. I’d look at this guy’s children in church. I’d try not to stare. When all this started I believe his daughter was around 10 or 11 years old. I was 9 years old when I was first raped by my adult neighbor. I’d look at how sweet and innocent and frail-looking his daughter is and wonder how the hell someone could hurt or take advantage of a little girl like that. Even the thought of this is making my hands shake right now as I’m typing.
I think his son was about 11 or 12- the same age I was when my dad passed away from cancer. I remembered how I thought I caused my dad’s death and how the heaviness, the guilt, the seriousness of the situation weighed upon me and pressed me down.
Having this guy beat cancer was so important and symbolic to me on so many different levels. Yes, of course the victory is his and his family’s and the Lord’s…but seeing myself in his children had such a profound impact on me. I can’t even think of words to explain it.
Needless to say, I’m ecstatic for his healing and I’m so relieved he and his family can go on living their lives. He’s become one of the people that I admire greatly for their walk with the Lord…his selflessness and compassion, the caring nature of both him and his wife, the way they love their children…these are truly great people and this world needs more people like them! Praise God for remission! 🙂