Click. The phone receiver sounded like boulders crashing to the desk. In my ear the voice of my friend lingered. “The nurse said that I would be going down hill from here – more confusion as the medication is increased.” I fumbled with words but the words that I wanted to come out of my mouth were, “I hate cancer. I hate what it is doing to you. I hate that it is taking you prematurely.” Instead I said, “Ah, that is really troubling and so discouraging – but you know I’m praying every day for you.” This wonderful, kind, encouraging, nutritious, positive person should live – she should outlive all of us because the world needs more people like her. In a way I think she is too good for the world. This is such a hideous place at times – the hate, the pain, the cutting words spoken, the dishonesty and posturing – all of it. But I hate cancer. Then the words from the Revelation to St. John come whispering to me in the dim light of the room where the telephone sits, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21) How soon will it be? How soon before we will all see and feel this revelation. My lips whisper the prayer, “Come, Lord, come quickly.”
There is no giving up or giving in – when going through hell keep on going. Comedian, Gilda Radner said, “The goal is to live a full, productive life even with all that ambiguity. No matter what happens, whether the cancer never flares up again or whether you die, the important thing is that the days that you have had you will have lived.” Yes – to have lived – that is it, isn’t it? Life each day becomes a gift and we dare not waste – to love and cry and think and pray and believe – all these things DO with a full measure.
Leo Buscaglia in his book “Living, Loving, and Learning,” shared a story of an old man who said, “If I had my life to live over again, I’d try to make more mistakes next time. I wouldn’t try to be so perfect. I would relax more. I’d limber up. I’d be sillier than I’ve been on this trip. In fact, I know very few things that I would take so seriously, I’d be crazier. I’d be less hygienic. I’d take more chances, I’d take more trips, I’d climb more mountains, I’d swim more rivers, I’d watch more sunsets, I’d go more places I’ve never been to. I’d eat more ice cream and fewer beans. I’d have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.” Touché, Leo. I still hate cancer.