The word cancer emotes feelings within me that I struggle to express verbally. Most likely this struggle originates from the day I received word that one of my college friends was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. I remember how I felt when I heard the news. I also remember how I sobbed uncontrollably when I learned of her passing, and how angry and confused I was by that outcome.
I was angry, because in my opinion, her time on earth was cut way too short. I was angry because I didn’t get the chance to thank her for the positive impact she had on my life, nor did I get to say goodbye. I was also angry because I couldn’t go back and change the past.
For days after learning of this news my brain recycled all of the things I should have done. I kept kicking myself for not capturing more friendship moments and focusing more intently on others while I had the opportunity to do so.
Continually dwelling on the “should have’s” allowed room for confusion to set in. At that point I also began to struggle to understand why God would allow something like this to happen to someone like her. My friend was an amazing person who had an infectious way about her that drew people towards her. As a result of her warm personality and genuine care for others, she influenced countless lives. She also had a solid grasp of her faith, and her countenance displayed her obvious love for Christ.
For the longest time I didn’t comprehend why my prayers for healing weren’t answered in the way I thought God should have answered them. I failed to see that there are some things I will never understand. I failed to recognize that healing comes in different forms, and that Gods ways are best even when I don’t understand.
Yesterday I learned that another friend recently received a cancer diagnosis. Thankfully modern science has provided better medicines, more aggressive courses of treatment, and newer treatment options for cancer patients. In addition to scientific intervention, there is also the power of prayer. I’ve witnessed the impossible become possible through prayer. Because of medical advances and divine intervention, there are countless folks whose cancer is in remission or who are cancer free. I am thankful that all of those individuals get second chances. Yet even thought I know these positives, I still get emotional when learn about a friend’s diagnosis, because I also know the connotations attached to this diagnosis.
Hearing yesterday’s news cut me to the core and unearthed those past emotions of do-over wishes. Lately I feel that I have been so busy with my job and with life itself that I’m missing opportunities to get to know people in a deeper way. I feel that I have my nose to the grindstone far more than I should, and that I don’t look up often enough to see who is around me. I don’t like being in this tunnel vision mode.
Maybe this news is a reminder that even my days are numbered and that life should be spent differently than burying my face in my work all of the time. Maybe hearing about my friend is a reminder to look up more often and see people, to truly see people, instead of seeing tasks.