Off My Chest… and On to Courage

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I’m tired of people bad-mouthing Christianity as though it is the destruction of all society, and something only believed by ignorant, weak, hypocritical, bigots who need something to mindlessly follow. Phew, that felt good to say! Unfortunately that comment will likely drop the views on this blog and the friends on my Facebook page… but so be it.  Those of you who know me will hopefully hear me out on this one, whether you believe in Christ or not.

Now on to courage, an interesting topic to me…  Getting something else off my chest, namely my breasts due to cancer has deemed me courageous in the eyes of many.  I’ve fielded many questions of how I got through that. The funny thing is I’m not courageous at all! Seriously, I hate blood draws, don’t even like to take Advil, and prior to cancer never had a surgery save for a couple of C-sections- a certified medical sissy. 

But here I am, suddenly faced with quite radical surgeries, pumping toxic chemicals into my body, being radiated, and endless blood draws. At this point, my faith came alive. I had a choice at this moment to believe that my life was in God’s control, and that he is always good, and always works for my best –OR- I could choose to forget that (because look where that got me) and turn my back on God. The problem with the latter choice is that there is no hope there. No hope for a future, no hope for life after death, no hope for my children or my family. So in my mind there was no choice, I set my mind ready for battle and believed God. (In the words of Beth Moore) That he is who he says he is, can do what he says he can do, that I am who he says I am, that I can do all things (even battle cancer) in him who strengthens me and that his word is alive and active today.

Here’s the deal, that didn’t make it a cake-walk but I made it through something I was intensely afraid of.  And, I had God’s supernatural peace even if I didn’t survive. Never underestimate the power of hope in the Almighty God.  Christianity isn’t just an ugly, hypocritical religion used to shame people who don’t think the same way (although certainly some have used it that way). It is a real live powerful relationship with our creator, who is good and loving and that provides for us all that we need in this life. Including hope… and that is a beautiful thing when your situation looks bleak.

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2 responses »

  1. Hi Gail,
    I appreciate your sentiments…and have seen life with your perspective for most of my 39 years. However, now after years of reflection I do see something else now. If you have a moment to read about the “Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” – and her contribution to science with her death, suffering, and mistreatment of cancer…you will see that there are countless pieces of DNA that have been examined, probed, mutilated in order to greatly and deeply understand the disease of cancer and of polio, and many other researched illnesses. It was that quest for understanding, that need for logic, and rational reproducible results that lead many human beings to dedicate their lives to finding treatments. I would love for these individuals who lived in labs, lurked in libraries, and spent many a friday night with a microscope to get the credit for turning a “miracle” into something people feel entitled to at their local hospitals and cancer clinics. I do believe that humans need to surrender to reality – and that is a lot of what you speak of – accepting that either way you will be fine and relaxing into that. I can trust that most people believe in love, believe in helping others, believe in kindness and health and safety. What I can’t fathom is how much we now know about the body through biochemistry, organic chemistry, immunology, heredity, molecular genetics, neurology etc. And how none – not one of the people who have told me lately to praise God and thank them for the miracle they received in their hospital – is willing to credit a single scientist, researcher, doctor, radiation physicist for their efforts in making that a reality. In reality – what is amazing really is how much the human mind has learned about the human body. It is far too much for a single human to understand. Collectively we lean on each other for this knowledge and each of us specializes to the greatest degree we can to become apart of the cure. I don’t believe science can know everything – and that is always where the creator comes into play with the human psyche. But so so so much of what people have historically called curses and sins was infection. So much of what people have called miracles were cures to that infection. Please understand that some of us fellow Christians – see Christianity as something more of how one treats another and rights injustice, something more of a loving neighbor instead of a rainmaker. I think Christianity is an attitude that accepts that we all suffer – the rich, the poor, the ignorant, the brilliant, the bigot, and the open minded. The rain falls on all of us. I think that your health treatment was the same bit of weather…and you were not living in rural India. You had health care, you were American, many had paved the road with cancer funds racing due to loss of loved ones. That is the logic of why you lived and others with this disease will not. To cling to the love and comfort and let everything else go is in my estimation brilliant. We all, Christian or not, carry a lot on our shoulders and in our bodies, and on our breasts and chests. Letting go helps us live and love in the moment with what we came into the world with – and what we will exit with. Watching my grandmother die this winter, I saw that all that she wanted in the world was a hand to hold. And she had been a very materialistic person…who had not a care but for a hand and affection on her 92 year. But please consider in your Christian experience – beyond the Christology, beyond the Miracle – to the many many millions of hours of logic, of questions and answers that have gone into making the life we have prayed for a reality.

    • Laura,

      I have always loved that you are a deep thinker, and appreciate your comments.

      This post was pertaining particularly to the mental battle of facing cancer. There is not a drug or scientist on this earth that has a cure for that…

      Since you brought up the physical aspect of cancer first let me say, as you well know, I am also a lover of science. I am extremely grateful for the circumstances surrounding my bout with cancer: namely being in Green Bay which happens to have exceptional cancer care and research hospitals, and for having health insurance among other things. Certainly without these things I’m very aware my outcome was likely to be worse- but not out of God’s hand either way. Having had cancer I have contributed my piece to the research as well, as I had some rare anomalies with protein receptors in my cancer tumors, as well as some troubling complications. I can only hope that more is learned through my cancer that will make things better for those who follow. But the fact remains that there are limits to science, even scientists best efforts at a cure come at a high cost with decreased quality of life and even loss of life. There are those I sat through chemo with that did not make it… even in America and with health insurance. Do these comments mean I am ungrateful for the scientists’ hard work, or ungrateful for the many who have lost their lives prior to give me better odds? Most certainly not, to the contrary I am extremely grateful.

      When I stated that God provides all you need, I don’t mean in a “genie in a bottle” sort of way, and I would never dare to call God a rainmaker. I do however believe that all suffering is filtered through his loving hands and will ultimately be used for good of those who believe in him… and yes I do believe God is good all the time.

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