Sunday, May 22, 2011

Just Keep Walking

Set aside, for the moment, the scientific reasons why the Israelites couldn’t have crossed a dry Red Sea, split open when Moses hit it with his staff, or why Elijah and then Elisha split the Jordan River with a rolled-up cloak, or why Jesus couldn’t have literally walked on water. Look even beyond the symbolic significance of anyone who demonstrated power over that most precious and uncontrollable substance, water. Let’s ask the deeper questions, rather than getting bogged down in the mud of our own rational minds.
            Mark’s version of Jesus walking on water says the disciples, having been sent on in the boat, struggled against an adverse wind. Things got no better when they saw a ghost walking on water, which terrified them. Jesus spoke words of comfort: “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” He got in the boat and the wind calmed. (Mark 6:45-52)
            But Jesus intended to pass them by. As they used to say in the sci-fi stories, “This does not compute.” Jesus was the one who’d sent them out in the boat near nightfall. He saw and felt the wind they had been fighting for hours. And yet the narrative suggests if they hadn’t noticed him, he would have kept on walking to beat them to shore. Where’s the loving and compassionate Jesus we’re familiar with? What could possibly be more important to him than their well-being and safety?
            I don’t have an answer, which is why I’m writing. Maybe Jesus was messing with them, or enjoying the feel of walking on water, the way that penguins appear to have fun on snowbank slides. Maybe he was praying, or was weary and giving himself some time off. After all, he’d originally invited the disciples for a sort of mini-retreat away from the crowds; the crowds followed, however, and after they listened to Jesus’ teaching, they needed to be fed. Jesus multiplied bread and fish, and the disciples distributed it to thousands. Not much of a vacation.
            I also find it interesting that the wind doesn’t die down until after Jesus clambers into the boat with them. It’s tempting to make it a nice, tidy story, with the moral being the need for Jesus’ presence in our storm-tossed boats. That’s true, of course, but I want to go deeper.
Why was Jesus going to pass them by? Is it possible that the things that concerned them—and the things that concerns me, like a blood draw or a check-up—is not on his agenda? The adverse wind, the toiling all night to get nowhere are apparently insignificant to Jesus. But their fear of him does matter.
I have a need for tidy endings, so indulge me here. Maybe the lesson is that we need not fear Jesus, no matter how inexplicable his actions—and if we follow him long enough, those actions will at some point make no sense. Jesus’ priorities are not ours, but his apparent indifference to our plight is only a shadow.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Up at Midnight

At midnight I will rise to give you thanks, because of your righteous judgments.
Psalm 119: 61 Book of Common Prayer

            When the psalms were written, midnight really was the middle of the night. In an agrarian society, without electricity to keep the world going, people went to bed “with the chickens,” as the saying goes. And chickens go to bed when it gets dark and get up when the sun comes back out. To get up voluntarily in the middle of a good night’s sleep to praise God is a noble thing.
            Being in treatment for cancer can result in sleeplessness. I often went into a manic phase the day of chemo, chattering away until one in the morning to any hapless guest who was visiting. I’ve read of women who had mega-cleaning sessions, but I’m not wired to clean, even on chemo drugs. It sometimes took a day or two to come down from the steroids and chemicals. I didn’t need to rise at midnight to give God thanks, because I hadn’t been to bed.
            Ah, but giving thanks? That was really the hard part. Much as I came to love my chemo nurse and the other women in the room receiving chemo, I would rather not have been there at all. Comfortable as the recliner was, I’d have preferred to be at home in my own beat-up, cat-clawed recliner. I’ve never been able to consider chemo “liquid love,” as a friend does. It remained poison, the entire time, even after I figured out that calling it poison wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had.
            During treatment, I had to be intentional about giving thanks, trying to create a habit of gratitude. Anything becomes a habit, I think, after six weeks. Most of us don’t consciously think about needing to brush our teeth—it’s automatic. By persistently looking for things for which to give thanks, we can train ourselves in gratitude.
            Now I go to bed most nights before midnight, though I’ve not slept through a night in years. I wake to go to the bathroom; I wake because I’m thinking about a writing assignment; I wake because I’ve had a nightmare so dreadful I had to make it stop. Sometimes I wake because I’ve scared myself about the next check-up, or the cost of health insurance. I try to think of this verse, to remember to be thankful for a functioning bladder and too-busy mind. We can train ourselves to do this, and it can make wakefulness—drug-fueled or otherwise—less unpleasant, a time of silence and darkness, perfect for communing with God.

Monday, May 16, 2011


It's still May--this is a belated tribute to my mother, who loved purple, as well as an enquiry about heritage.

You have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
Psalm 61:5

            That verse is a great comfort to me, an adopted child who has chosen not to connect with my birth family. I have no concept of my true biological heritage; a few details are clear, since mine was a privately arranged adoption and I have photographs—I look like my birth mother.
            My heritage from my adoptive mother was to have included her diamonds. She’d tried to press them on me many times before her death, after her hands had swollen and the metal of the rings grown thin. I’d always maintained that I was too young to wear diamonds, and they would be there when I was ready for them.
            Foolish obstinacy and blind faith! Those rings, some drugs, and a few other valuables were stolen while we were attending my mother’s funeral. The sense of rage and blight, of being dishonored—it had to have been someone who knew us, because we had not put the announcement of the time of the funeral in the paper. Someone had been watching the house. The police were not hopeful; this sort of crime happened far too often. A physical part of my heritage was irrevocably gone.
            Well, they were only rings symbolizing a marriage that had often been troubled, I told myself, so why would I want them? I could buy diamonds of a similar age in a consignment or antique shop if I really wanted them.
            We create heritage every day of our lives, and it’s not just about a robust financial portfolio. My mother worked very hard to keep her house so that she could give it to my brother and me. But the heritage I have from her is deeper than material things. I love having her silverware and utensils, her tablecloths and potholders—the common things of her life. Beyond that, however, I have received the heritage of a woman who made hospitality and unselfish giving into an art form.
            I’m not sure exactly what defines the heritage of those who fear God’s name. God doesn’t cut deals; those who fear God are subject to cancer and other illnesses, tragedy, grief, and death. Nobody gets a free pass through life. Perhaps, as in the case of my mother, the heritage isn’t about material things so much as it is about personality and character: the Godfearers are a particular kind of people, not an economic class of people.
            Now that cancer has made my own mortality real to me, I’m more aware of what heritage I will leave. I’m hoping that my words will continue to matter after I’m gone. I hope that the time I’ve spent with the young people in my church will continue to resonate for them, just as the gifts of time and teaching that my Sunday School teachers have done with me. As new oportunities to speak about cancer arise, I hope my words touch lives and bring hope and healing.
            We can’t know what heritage we leave. We can only work to make sure, in the language of a doctor’s pledge, that we “first, do no harm.” From there, we work to spread compassion and love, which may just be the heritage of those who fear God’s name.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Forgive Us Our Debts

I was teasing a colleague who was about to turn fifty and wasn’t sure how he felt about it.
            “Fifty is your jubilee year,” I encouraged, referring to a celebration commanded in the Hebrew Bible.
            “Wasn’t that the year when debts were forgiven?” he asked. “Maybe I should try explaining it to the bank that holds my mortgage. I wonder how far that would go.”
            That conversation got me thinking about the Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6:9–13. “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors,” Jesus instructed his followers to pray. Many of us are familiar with older translations that use the word “transgressions.” When we use the word debts, we’re not talking about financial obligations here.
            Forgive as we have been forgiven. In a parable in Matthew 18:21–35, Jesus uses a story to highlight the need to forgive others, knowing how much we ourselves have been forgiven. Peter asks if he needs to forgive a brother as many as seven times, and Jesus responds with hyperbole: seventy-seven, or seventy times seven, times.
Jesus then tells of a slave who owed his master the king more money than he could ever repay. In a time when a wage earner might amass a talent of money after fifteen years of labor, this man owed 10,000 talents. The king excused the debt, but the man left and demanded another slave pay a debt of 100 denarii, or 100 days’ wages. He has no pity on the man, and has him tossed into debtor’s prison. The story gets back to the king, who repents of his earlier generosity and has the first slave given over to be tortured.
I’ve been thinking about the need for forgiveness, the way we are to forgive not only others, but also ourselves. Many of us continue to torture ourselves with debts large and small from our past. We don’t feel forgiven, and we don’t feel we deserve forgiveness. We would never treat a friend the way we treat ourselves, never speak to a friend who’d asked forgiveness the way we talk to ourselves in our heads. We forget that God is merciful as well as righteous, that it is God’s gracious perogative to forgive huge debts (or transgressions) that we could never repay.
I had a counselor once tell me I was pulling a very heavy red wagon along behind me, with all the unforgiveness stacked up and weighing it down. Over several months of work together, she helped me unload that wagon and forgive, not only others, but myself.
Fifty is indeed the jubilee year, a time of forgiving debts. But any year in our faith lives can be a jubilee year as we set captives free and release heavy obligations. Even if we are our own jailers, as well as the captives.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Looking Through the Eyes of Love

Your love is always before my eyes.
Psalm 26:3, Book of Common Prayer

I remember coming to in the recovery room, scared to reach under the thin blanket to see if I had an incision in my abdomen. If the mass was cancer, during surgery to remove it, my doctor would have put in a port for intraperitoneal chemo. I could not check; I was too afraid.
As I gained consciousness, I was aware of a tall, dark-haired man standing to the left of the bed. His kind voice spoke four words: “Good news, no cancer.” Surely that was God’s love before my very eyes! I would not have to endure the indignities of cancer treatment. I could recover from surgery and go home, live my life. Even after he asked permission to send slides of my cells to a specialist at Harvard, I had a 90 percent chance of being cancer-free, because, as he told me, “Our guys in pathology are good. Ninety percent of the time, Harvard agrees with them.”
Over the next few weeks, instances that were obvious signs of God’s love were visible:
• the friend who sat all night in a recliner the night after my surgery, alert to my smallest movement
• others who visited, sent or brought gifts or food after I returned home, as well as those who helped me run errands or walk in the woods
• the amazing nurses and personal assistants who made a week in the hospital bearable, and the nurses who later made chemo bearable as well
• friends who read to me, in the hospital and after I went home
• the editor at my freelance job, who told me not to worry, the project was still mine
• my priest, who brought communion to the house, despite her cat allergies
At my post-surgery check-up, my gynecologic oncologist sat down and said, “It’s as we feared—it’s cancer.” So certain had I been in my escape that I’d refused an offer to join me in the examining room from the friend who had driven me to the appointment. Just me and my notebook of questions, most of which, as my doctor said, became largely irrelevant.
The time he took with me that day, and all the other days, was God’s love before my eyes, disguised in a long white lab coat. “It’s all good,” another survivor says. Some days, frankly, I have trouble with that idea. But I’m learning to see that it’s all God’s love, right there before my very eyes, if only I will look.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers Day

Most years while growing up, I sat through Mother’s Day sermons based on Proverbs 31. In my Baptist world, the impossibly virtuous model was the Proverbs 31 woman, who seemed to me surely headed for a nervous breakdown or physical collapse. After reading her list of activities, I have to go lie down.
            The Proverbs 31 woman spun wool and flax, rose before dawn to fix breakfast, bought and planted a vineyard, worked late by candlelight, made clothes for herself and her family—tapestry yet—sold her fine linen, did charitable work, and was trusted and blessed by her husband and children. The chapter concludes “Give her of the fruit of her hands: and let her own works praise her in the gates.”
            I was reminded of this verse while smiling at the line of stuffed animals lining the top of my closet. My mother did a lot of the items in the Proverbs 31 list above and then some (there’s nothing in the list about glueing on airplane wings during World War II). In her retirement, she also made me a collection of fabric creatures: Victorian muslin rabbits, bears, a squirrel, cats, a swan and reindeer for Christmas. Some of them are clothed; the squirrel, for example, has a lovely plaid dress and tam. Others show off their print material bodies. Some days I want to pack them away, but I can’t bear the thought of closing their eyes to the world.
            Let her own works praise her. I still have some clothes my mother made me and a box of her recipes. I was telling my teenage helper about some of the things my handy mother could do, and was startled to hear her say, “She sounds like a neat person.”
            “Neat” was not a word I had ever applied to my mother. A friend once called her remarkable, and she was, though it took me a long time to know it. “Daughters are always hard on their mothers,” says a friend who is both a daughter and a mother to a daughter. I was hard on mine.
            My mother has been dead more than twelve years now, gone before my cancer diagnosis. She makes comments on occasion and may show up in dreams, though less frequently as time passes. I apologize to her sometimes; as I’m aging, I understand more of what her life was like at this age, when I was impatient as she sometimes slowed down, sometimes pushed herself harder. I wish we’d had more time together, wish I could replay some scenes and improve my relationship with her. Of one thing I am confident, though—she still thinks I’m the best daughter ever.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Of Opposums and Automobiles

In the baptismal service of the Episcopal church, we pray for the person to have “the gift of joy and wonder in all your works.” Grasping this gift isn’t always easy for me.
            One morning several years ago I was gently (and unintentionally) rebuked by a neighbor. She was cleaning out her storage space in the carport that the three apartments share; I was cleaning out my car before taking it on what would likely be our final ride.
            “I took the car in for an oil change yesterday, and it needs $1,500.00 worth of work. So I’m going to buy a new car today,” I told her.
            “Congratulations!” she said. “That’s exciting—like a gift.”
            How was it possible? A freelancer herself, with a son to support, she didn’t view this development as the ultimate tragedy of car payments resuming. Everyone else I’d talked to knew buying a car was a hassle, especially for a lone woman walking onto a lot. But this woman thought of it as a gift.
            And then she found another unexpected gift: an opossum had made a nest in her storage area and was in residence, nursing her young brood. Although my neighbor’s first reaction was “Ooooh—yuck!” she soon grew tender and commented that her son needed to see them. It took me awhile to find the creatures in the dark corner; I could hear the babies suckling before I saw the white fur and dark spots. I can appreciate the beauty of life continuing in the opposums’s precarious lives. They’ll nest anywhere that feels remotely comfortable.
            I’ve lived here long enough to have gotten pretty well past my fear of the critters wandering around their woods, where several decades ago people were so rude as to build homes. An opposum used to live under my porch in the crawl space; raccoons have made havoc of the boxes in my storage space. The heavy scent of skunk has awakened me some nights. I’ve also awakened early and seen deer passing a short distance from my bedroom window. I’m the intruder; they belong here, even if they give birth in a storage shed in a carport.
            I’d been dreading that day, which anyone could see was coming—my car is fifteen years old, and for nine of those years it’s had hard service with me. We—my mechanics and I—were going for ten years and a quarter million miles, but this is the end, a few months and 15,000 miles short of the goal. Metal can be as fragile as a newborn opposum.
            Buying myself the gift of reliable transportation wasn’t on my to-do list for the week, but sometimes God doesn’t seem terribly interested in my little timetables. On the other hand, God does care for the sparrow—and for infant opposums.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Struggling Against the Inevitable

I wrote this meditation some time ago; now I can't even remember what I didn't want to do, if I did it, and how it turned out. It seems that there are always new challenges to meet, however, so I am posting it now.

My friends are enjoying the sight of me struggling against the inevitable, while I sit here pouting. A tremendous opportunity has opened for me, and people are waiting in the wings to help make it happen. The problem is, I don’t want to do it. I don’t really have a good reason (read: logical, rational), I just don’t want to.
            The task will not be easy for me, despite those willing helpers. The situation reminds me of a small New Testament class whose members met around a conference table to dig into the text. I left most classes exhilarated, grinning, and nursing a massive headache—and I am not a person who gets headaches. At one point during a class, after we had worked through a particularly difficult passage, I put my head in my hands and softly whined, “It’s hard.” My professor overheard me, though I hadn’t intended him to, and looked up at me. “What? Of course it’s hard. Anything worth doing is hard,” he proclaimed, and we plunged back into the text. This thing against which I struggle now is, I know, very much worth doing.
            Saint Paul wrote to his supporters in Corinth, “A wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” (1 Corinthians 16:9) Paul was speaking of outsiders who were making things difficult for him in another Greek city, Ephesus, where he was establishing a church. I am my only adversary in this particular case, but I can be formidable. I know my weak spots and how to scare myself out of what seems a golden opportunity.
            We are often our own worst enemies, endlessly repeating mental loops of old tapes telling us we can’t, we’ll fail, we’ll embarrass ourselves or our ________ [insert the group of choice: parents, family, friends, church]. To replace the fears with faith—in the God who made the “wide door,” in ourselves, in our supporters—takes imagination and courage.
            Along with being my own worst enemy, though, I see that I’ve already given myself a lifeline, like a spider spinning a strand for her web out of her own body. Job, suffering with both physical and spiritual afflictions once prayed, “O that my words were written down! O that they were inscribed in a book!” (Job 19:23) I could tell him now, after having prayed that same prayer and seen it answered, Be careful what you pray for. No one has quoted me back to me yet, except the Spirit, who whispers over and over, “We are all of us, by the grace of God, more robust than we know.” I was so proud of that line, which closes my first published book. I knew the person who needed to read it, too, and it wasn’t me. I thought. Now it’s become the spider-web-strong line by which I can scramble up to the safety of my web’s center: the grace of God.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Torrents of Oblivion

The breakers of death rolled over me, and the torrents of oblivion made me afraid. . . .
[God] reached down from on high and grasped me; [God] drew me out of great waters.
Psalm 18: 4, 17 Book of Common Prayer

            I have a friend who may be facing serious surgery. In discussing her options, none of which were attractive, she matter-of-factly said, “There’s a real risk I’ll die during surgery.” That risk is genuine, which is why the hospital staff scared me half to death before my major surgery, with warnings about what could happen and many pieces of paper to sign indicating that I would not hold the hospital responsible if they did. I remember wrinkling my nose as the education nurse explained the likelihood of waking up with a tube down my trachea to help me breath. I didn’t want it, and didn’t need it, as it turned out.
            The Book of Common Prayer arranges the psalms for communal reading or chanting, which is why the verses I’ve listed likely will not correspond numerically with those in a Bible. But it’s the translation I read with breakfast, and it rivals the King James Version for sheer beauty of poetic language. (They were written about the same time, though both are updated periodically.)  This morning I noticed for the first time how these two verses line up almost parallel to each other on the pages of the open book (pages 602 and 603 in my copy).
            I also observed that the narrator is passive in these verses. That is, he or she is not the subject, the one acting, but the one acted upon: breakers rolling over, torrents making afraid—and then God at work, reaching, grasping, drawing him or her out.
The verses make me think of the anesthesized, passive patient during surgery, with its risk of death, its oblivion, however temporary. I will think of this verse the next time I face an invasive procedure. They do get easier—I’ve had seven or eight in the last five years—but they’re never without risk, without a tremor of fear. I’m not in control—I’m not even conscious—but God is there, acting through surgeons and nurses and anesthesiologists, through the radiologist who reads the scans and the lab technicians who examine my cells. I am not alone, left to be roiled by the breakers or to drown in the great waters. The mighty hand of God is holding onto me.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In Between

I wrote this post several years ago, but in the midst of a rainy season and its consequent mud and puddles, I've not been able to get to the park for a walk. I miss it. This is by way of homage.

A geologist could probably explain why the river sounds different at different places along its route. But no one, me included, could explain why on any given day I must hear a particular sound of the river. Today, I knew I wanted to be at a certain wide flat piece of ground and hear the river there.
            The only problem is, that place is twenty minutes from the parking lot, down in the gorge. Translation: not one of the easier walks. And I’m tired today; I’m working double deadlines, and I’m behind. This somehow weighs on both my mind and my body the way carrying a full backpack would weigh on someone else.
            What I have going for me is stubbornness. Even after I started on the path, I thought of remaining on the path on top of the gorge, where the water is a distant murmuring. But I started down.
            I wish I could tell you that when I arrived there were angels or at least a burning bush, that I met my one true love or even saw a deer. Nothing. Just the water sound I had been longing for and the knowledge that I had to reverse my steps and climb back out of the gorge to the parking lot. Nothing in between, coming or going, either. Just the satisfaction of having done what I wanted to do.
            We’re so product-oriented, so focused on the finish, that we scurry through the process. We’re not terribly interested in the steps in between; so little, in fact, that we divide tasks into mini-goals and micro-goals so that we can get the rush of finishing, of checking off another thing.
            There had to have been days in his peripatetic final years when Jesus woke up stiff, weary of the drain on his body and brain, the lack of comprehension from his followers. Yet throughout his ministry, Jesus said his hour had not yet come. So he got up and walked through the day: Galilee to Jerusalem, over to Samaria, back to Galilee. He couldn’t make the end come any quicker, couldn’t accomplish what he’d come to do until it was time.
            We’re afraid of the in-between. I have myself wanted something, seen what it would require, and sabotaged my own efforts. Because it’s hard sometimes. And I don’t like hard. Life doesn’t seem to be about easy, though—not for cancer patients, not for anyone else.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Many Adversaries

Lord, how many adversaries I have! how many there are who rise up against me!
Psalm 3:1

            As a teenager taking a world history class from a born teacher, I was fascinated by the French Revolution and World War II. Now I barely remember the difference between Robespierre and Rommel. I’ve also taken a marked dislike for war, perhaps because of the lingering effects of the Vietnam War on my psyche. So I don’t like using battle imagery as a metaphor for cancer, but sometimes it just works.
            I had almost recovered from the shock to my system that involved major surgery, insertion of a port, four months of chemotherapy, and removal of a port. I decided this strange ovarian cancer was some sort of blip in my lifetime of good health. Now that it was gone, I was going to be back to normal—the old normal, just punctuated by three-month check-ups.
            When they found bladder cancer at the six-month CAT scan, my wishful thinking quickly disappeared. I felt as if my entire body was a cancerous mass, bent on destroying me. My system was clearly toxic beyond my imagination, full of many adversaries. Two kinds of cancer cells had risen up against me! I knew that because of the ovarian cancer, I was automatically more susceptible to breast cancer. (Since then, I’ve discovered there’s also a link to colon cancer.) Clearly, the only thing to do was to put my affairs in order and prepare to die. This has turned out to be wrong for now.
            For some women I know, the issue isn’t multiple cancers but recurrence of cancer, necessitating new drug protocols. (My bladder cancer, which one oncologist called a “nuisance” cancer, has returned multiple times, but hasn’t required chemo. Oddly enough, the drugs I was given for ovarian cancer were also the most potent for my bladder cancer, so I was being treated for both at the same time.)
            The blessing in all this—I’ve learned there is always a blessing—is that I am not alone in the struggle. Not only do I have amazing friends to support me, but I also have a cadre of medical professionals who are scary-smart, funny, and kind. I know that they will be with me throughout this siege, however protracted. Almost four years from the end of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, in the context of a discussion about releasing me from his care in a year or two if all continues to go well, my doctor tells me I will always be his patient.
Cancer is a formidable foe, but I am not helpless. I know from friends who are also under his care that new cancer drugs are regularly being perfected. God has sent me the best caregivers who will walk with me into whatever fray I must go.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What Do You Need?

[The Lord] gives justice to those who are oppressed, and food to those who hunger. The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind; the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous; the LORD cares for the stranger; he sustains the orphan and widow. . . .
Psalm 146:6-8, Book of Common Prayer

            When I read those verses this morning, I thought about the comprehensiveness of the Lord’s provision. God is in every case the actor; we are the receivers of God’s grace. Regardless of the need—justice, food, freedom, sight, raising, care, sustenance—God is able to meet that need.
            Need isn’t the same as want. I am prone to very bad, recurrent cases of “the wants.” Sometimes I make lists of them, just so I don’t forget that I want a manicure or a new pair of shoes. And then a tornado rips through the Southeast, and I realize how much I have already, or a friend faces surgery and I remember my own fears before my surgery and the blessings of being healthy.
            When we are in the midst of treatment, our needs are very concentrated. We need to tolerate the regimen, we need our tumor marker numbers to go down and our blood numbers to stay up, we need rest and nutritious food. Life becomes stripped down to its essence when we are bald and bloated and weary from the chemo. I didn’t feel the need for a new outfit (though I was happy to receive hats and prayer shawls in abundance). I needed courage and grace; I asked people to pray that I would have a sufficient supply of both.
            I find—nearly four years after chemo ended—that it’s easy for me to forget what is important and what is just part of living in a consumerist society. Being with other cancer survivors or speaking to future doctors or nurses helps to ground me in the reality that I don’t really need much. I have my health right now. I can’t know what the next check-up will reveal. But I have today, filled with all I really need and the knowledge that God is able to provide for any needs I have.