Tuesday, February 04, 2014

World Cancer Day

Today is World Cancer Day. You might already know this if you saw this commercial during the Super Bowl. I teared up when I saw it. Somehow it seems appropriate since today is also one year since I was told that I had cancer. February 4, 2013 was a strange day....the somber phone call from a nurse asking me to come in to their office immediately....going in alone because I had no clue what they were about to tell me....laughing with the nurses because I was having a good day....not understanding why they asked if I was okay because they thought I was "handling the news awfully well".....being sent to the hospital for additional tests.....feeling like a ton of bricks dropped on me when the news finally sank in that I would owe thousands of dollars after all the surgeries were done....sobbing in my friend Katie's arms because all I could think about was the additional debt I would be accruing....not fully grasping what I would face in the days to follow. It was a strange, surreal day. But one I don't think I'll ever forget.
Three months after I was told that I was CANCER FREE, I wrote a post on my blog about the array of emotions that can swallow you when you face trouble….shock….fear….anger….powerlessness….loneliness. But there was one emotion that I was surprised by, one that didn’t come until later….compassion. It’s a compassion that overwhelms me, that sometimes takes my breath away, that brings me to tears at the most random times….like now, as I write this.
Compassion for those facing their own troubles, whether it’s cancer or something else, no matter how big or small that trouble may seem.
Compassion for those who face pain on a daily basis.
Compassion for those who go to one doctor appointment after another.
Compassion for those who struggle to smile and just want someone to hold their hand.
Just last night, I was messaging with someone who has been going to lots of appointments, has lived with daily pain for far too long and who has dealt that frustration of not getting the answers they need or getting conflicting answers and still has a surgery to face next week…and while our conversation revolved around other things, I was in tears for this person as I thought of all they had faced in their journey to total healing.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 reads, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ."

I don’t pretend to have all the answers. In fact, most days, I have more questions than answers. So today, I count my blessings and I thank God for the healing He has brought to my body. I want to rejoice and jump up and down. I want to celebrate! But at the same time, I want to curl up and cry. So I allow myself to feel the sadness too. The weight that comes with compassion. Whatever trouble you may be facing, friend, know that you are not alone. I know that some days seem like it’s just too much and you can’t take one more thing. You may feel like no one understands and you face this giant alone. You may want to curl up and cry and that’s okay too. But know this, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There is a God who is right there with you, who collects your tears, every single one.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” ~Psalm 56:8
And He often brings people into our lives to journey with us in the mess. To sit beside us and hold our hand when words just don’t come. To offer hugs when you need “Jesus with skin on”. To listen to you vent about your day. To pray for you and over you. To just be there.
So on this “World Cancer Day” – my question is this….who can you be there for? What trouble have you faced that now gives you compassion for others? How can you be “Jesus with skin on” to someone who is hurting? Just a thought….

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