Having a life threatening disease like cancer can really put pressure on your faith. Someone I’ve come to consider a friend got very angry with me when I suggested that he seek a second opinion on his terminal pancreatic cancer. He had decided that quality of life was worth more than going through the terrible sickness that chemo-therapy produces. His decision came after a great deal of soul searching and the almost certain knowledge that, at best, his chances of survival were very slim. I get that. What I didn’t get was his anger. Let me rephrase that; I didn’t get why his anger was aimed at me. It seems, in retrospect, that he felt I was the devil come to sweet talk him into more misery through false hope. I get that too! Naturally, I’m pretty sure I’m not on speaking terms with the devil. I’ve checked…no emails, tweets or facebook posts. To be sure I don’t have any of those from God either. (I’ve heard he doesn’t “tweet”) But I have had what I consider pretty strong indirect messages. First is, well, I’m alive. I should be dead, but as of this writing I can confirm that any rumors to the contrary are not factual. In fact, throughout my life I’ve had some “coincidences” that considering the odds against were pretty questionable as mere “coincidences.” There’s really no point in retelling the stories about them, either you believe you’re the recipient of a blessing or not. We each have to make up our own minds and go from there. That all being said, the fact that the cancer I contracted in 2004 didn’t kill me is pretty miraculous. According to my own doctor, I had a less than 15% chance of survival. Think snowball in hell and you get the picture. That my recovery was a miracle in its own right doesn’t belittle the efforts by my doctor, nurses and hospital staff who did everything in their power to pull my fat out of the fire. They did, He did and I’m here. That works for me. Now for round two.
I have long ago decided that my fate was completely and utterly in God’s hands. Whatever He had planned for me was what was going to happen and I’m Okay with that. In fact, I’m better than just Okay. I’m happy with that knowledge. I’m perfectly comfortable letting God drive the bus. As long as it’s not my wife driving I’m good. Still, the idea of just giving up and not doing anything proactive about this illness is not how I’m made up. There may come a time when all other options have been explored or tried and it becomes obvious that my “number” is about to be called. I only hope I have the courage of my own convictions and willingly take that last most important “leap of faith.”
I’ve come to believe that there is a veil that separates this life from the next and the only way to pierce that veil is if God is holding my hand as we pass through. My hope is that I’ll stay calm, take His hand and go. Between then and now, however, there’s going to be a lot of fighting, struggling, pain and maybe some vodka.
Finally, unlike my friend, if you ever come to me with what you believe is a good idea. If your intent is only in the interest of offering help and support I’ll never get mad at you. I won’t think you’re the devil. I may look at you funny (Einstein said, “The road to perdition has ever been accompanied by lip service to an ideal.” which if I interpret that correctly sounds a lot like the road to hell being paved with good intentions), but I won’t get angry. I’ll say thank you.