But it never quite came back to plumb. Cancer does that. It alters the ground we thought was level. The surface doesn’t so much crack as shift…then turn to sinking sand.
I locked my mind on stubborn hope while my heart succumbed to cancer’s steady pull. I knew the war of fear and faith would forge a new reality. And wondered if this Independence Day would be the last I’d see.
Seven years have past since my battle’s bleak beginning. As I remember the turmoil of those early days, I contemplate the Words that carried me and the Resolutions that redeemed the dread and pain. The song posted below expresses the Words—a reminder to myself of God’s kept promises. It’s imperfect and unpolished, but it’s exactly me.
Be still my soul.
The Resolutions that carried me still echo these seven years on. They sway and saturate survival. My life is richer for contemplating death. My goals reach deeper. My faith rings truer.
I’ve purposefully Lived since July 2008. Loved too. Learned. Leaned. Laughed. Launched. Longed. And the ticking clock where youth’s delusions used to be metronomes my fragile days of cancer-free.
My illness motivates and galvanizes me. It’s the one outcome I can chose, the only one that’s truly up to me. What carcinoma took, I’m wrestling back. The sands still shift with every test and scare, but intentional uncertainty will always trump a mindless certainty.
This cancer makes me want where waiting used to be enough.
I want to quell illusions first—dispel the myth that I am strong and brave. I’m not immune to fear, the low-hum angst that surges every time a friend falls ill again. I know the hope that lurches two steps back with each grim hell-story I hear. The peace that trembles—mute—when calendars count down toward more tests in sterile, cheerful places full of healing and of death.
Despite the joy and peace that shimmer in my consciousness, I know that I am mortal. And in that weakness. In my weakness. He is strong.
I want to explore the questions I ignored before test results nearly caused my undoing.
What do I adore with the time I invest?
Who do I enslave with the habits I hide?
Do I give enough thanks for the blessings I’m forgetting?
Have I hobbled the frail to make myself feel grander
or humbled my pride to grow gentler and nobler?
How much would I give to share God with a stranger and
how much would I hoard if my God sought my treasure?
I want to exhort from the healing I’m living—the lessons now carved in the stone of surviving.
Those wounded—as I am—you know God is for you.
Give mercy and time to the scars that impede you.
Be sure of the One who fights in you and with you.
Seek Light—strive for Right. Your Comforter is near you.
I want to undo all my hate-words and lies.
Restore, rediscover, connect and unite.
I want to retrieve hours and days I have wasted.
I want to love better.
I want to bore deeper.
I want to live fully immersed in my Savior.
do you want too?
If you know the “I wants” and have both health and time, why not begin now with “the wisdom of dying”? With conviction and purpose. With focus and grace. With joyful commitment to leaving a trace.
July 4th is my milestone—one more year surviving.
Come what may
—when it may—
I’ll be going down living.
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