John chemotherapy @ Wed Aug 11 This Google calendar reminder popped up in my gmail inbox. It is not like I needed the reminder. Cancer is not something you forget. Cancer and chemotherapy have prompted several metaphors. Chemotherapy is aptly likened to a roller coaster. Every cycle is like another hill on the roller coaster. You never know what is on the other side. There are all kinds of twists and turns between the hills. No two hills are exactly the same. I've never been too fond of roller coasters.
Living with cancer is very much like having a constant ringing in your ears--tinnitus is the medical condition. Much of the time you can push it to the background and carry on as if it isn't there. There are times when you are totally unaware of it. But then something happens and it marches to the forefront crowding out all your other senses. It interrupts your physical, emotional, and spiritual life.
There is a temptation to try and read the tea leaves. "Oh, (fill in the blank) must be a sign of (fill in the blank with a positive or negative prognosis)!" The conclusion drawn has no real basis in fact but it is an attempt to know the unknowable. The better yet more difficult way to cope is to trust. There has never been an occasion when God has not been present. I know that. He will give us the grace to face whatever lies on the other side of the roller coaster hill or around the next hairpin curve. So we pray. Prayer is not an attempt to change God's mind. Prayer centers us on the One who is control. Many of our prayers are petitions. And many of those petitions will be answered exactly as submitted. But submitting prayers of petitions to God is not like ordering breakfast at McDonald's. I submit my humble prayer and know that God, who loves me more than anyone on earth has ever loved me, will offer me so much more than what I can even think to request. In the short term, I may not understand His answer. The challenge is to trust that sometime in the upcoming eternity, I will understand.