#5 – We waste our cancer if we refuse to think about death.
Many people become uncomfortable when I talk about death. I shocked a hairdresser yesterday leaving the shop, saying I didn’t know when I would be back. It’s not something the healthy want to think about.
Somehow we try to fool ourselves to feel we are immortal; that if we just eat right and drive safely, we’ll have a future and a sense of security.
But what we don’t account for is the minute germ clinging to our hand or the drunk driver spinning across the road.
If we knew death was coming, we would think differently. We would tell our children we love them. We’d hold them a little more closely. We would not waste time and prepare financially. We would think about spiritual and eternal destinations.
Instead, we like our little world of denial. Even cancer has a hard time breaking in. I remember talking with friend with terminal breast cancer about the meaning of “courage.” Everyone says we are courageous, but what does that mean? We are fighting, but there is also courage expressed in those last moments when we surrender. Somehow we think we can control what is within us.
But the truth is, we can’t control it. Death will come for all of us. I can’t control cancer anymore than a car flying at me. My mind and spirit cannot control the cancer eating away at my bones.
The issue is not death; the issue is life. What will I do with my days? Psalms 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Cancer helps us to realize the number of days before us is shorter than what we thought when we were in a state of denial. Cancer helps us develop wisdom.
And I love how the psalm talks about a “heart” of wisdom, because so much of what we learn is emotional. In my acceptance of death, I grew in sensitivity to love — awareness of my own love for others as well as lost opportunities for love. I celebrated as well as grieved. I forgave as well as received forgiveness. Sometimes, I realized that emotional healing was not going to happen, that it takes two people who are willing. Even in that grief, I knew I had taken the steps I needed in the numbered days that I had to pursue reconciliation. Now I could turn to loving others.
Pray that I would develop a “heart of wisdom” instead of denial of death. That is my prayer for you, no matter how many days you have.
How can I pray for you? (comment)