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T+5 yrs: Life in the real world.

So…my last post was a little over two years ago, and a lot has happened to say the least. Jen successfully gave birth to our beautiful twin boys, they grew and grew and grew and had their first birthday, and their second birthday, etc. Darby started kindergarten and is now close to wrapping that up in the next couple months. The kids are healthy and very active, which means we don’t have much time to sit and think, much less write on this blog.

I’ve had a few oncology appointments since two years ago, too. In February, I had my 5-year appointment, and all my blood counts are looking really good. There’s no evidence of CLL. The 5-year mark is a major milestone for cancer survivors, and I’m grateful to be here enjoying life with my family and friends.

Some people don’t make it this far. Some people are taken much too soon. Everyone’s life has been touched by cancer in one way or another. In the past couple years, some of these people have been close to me. Friends, friends of friends, spouses of friends, family members, the list is longer than it should be. So many questions are in my head. Why does God give some of us the gift of life, yet allows others to die? Why does cancer affect young and old alike? If I let it, my analytical mind will take over and I’ll get stuck in an endless web of if-then statements and a dark, distracting focus on life here on earth.

In the last two weeks, two young people in my church community have passed away from cancer. As I’ve been processing these events, there is a tendency to think more about how their families and friends are grieving and how painful it must be. Then I remembered a few verses from Philippians 3 that are applicable here:

 7But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

So what am I saying? Is it wrong to grieve these losses? Absolutely not! It is healthy to feel the full range of emotions that accompany these events. It is normal to want to help, to find encouraging or comforting words,  to feel compassion. The ultimate truth, though, is that God provides hope in spite of the pain and loss. I am comforted by knowing that these people are no longer physically suffering and are now worshiping in Heaven. In fact, I’m a little bit jealous!

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