Cancer through a Child’s Eyes

This was a post our youngest daughter wrote on her blog.   Two weeks ago we attended the funeral of a dear friend who battled cancer on three different times in the last few years.   By way of explanation, during this final bout, the cancer spread from her lymph nodes and through her body, even into the bone marrow.   The ‘arms being bigger than anything I had ever seen’ that our daughter speaks of were the result of the cancer spreading through her arms and skin.  

 

 I thought our daughter’s perspective on cancer, death, and attending her first funeral was interesting.  I pray that it blesses someone else who reads it.

 

 

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From the simple to the crazy, and some thoughts in between

When I began writing this on Saturday, I had a very simple agenda.    I wanted to focus on getting out one set of grades and the Sunday School lesson.   With that done, on Sunday I could focus on the oldest’s prom dress.  BUT…the kids danced on Friday night—late, like midnight—at a local outdoor event.    (Sorry about the picture quality; the lights were so bright everywhere, and these were with my cell phone).

 

After enjoying their performances, I returned home and crashed into bed.   Me and my mesquite-smoke-scented hair.    So, this morning, I prepared to wash my hair.   But instead of the braid-out that I’ve grown so accustomed to, I decided to go with 2-stranded twists.   After all, I need to keep my hands away from my hair a bit.   Right now, my hands are always in it—touching my new growth, checking for moisture, etc.   Lord, please don’t let my hair become an idol. 

Anyway, once I decided to twist my hair, I realized I was missing my shea butter soufflé (to moisturize my hair and hold the twists).  Down to the kitchen I go.   Once I got my soufflé mixed, I came back to wash my hair.   The twists took hours, so I was happy that the kids slept away the morning.    Once they got up, there were breakfast pancakes to cook—at noon.

Now with breakfast and hair out of the way, I needed to start a pot of chili for the evening meal, but had run out of chili powder.   My husband was okay with going to get more, so I started to get my computer and begin the grading process.   But first, I’d get a quick picture of my hair in its newest style.   As I turned the corner to get the camera, I walked by the youngest’s room.    I didn’t take the time to give it the pick-up that it needed (she should do that, right?!), but she can’t make the bunk beds just yet, so I climbed the ladder and got it done.    Then it was picture time.    I tried in the bathroom mirror, I tried with different cameras, but I could not get the right picture.    Finally I had my son take it.    I’ll hold on to the end result so that I’ll have something to show regarding progress later on.

With the picture taken, I again prepared to sit at the computer.   But I couldn’t possibly sit down at a computer without folding the clothes that have been next to the sofa for a couple of days now.   So, I folded clothes and started the pot of chili that I should have begun hours ago.   

So, nine hours after I set out to do so, I’m finally beginning to evaluate assignments and assign grades.   Does anyone else have this type of day?

When I’m not trying to unravel my plans into something that I can actually execute (which is all too often), I’ve been thinking.  It’s almost time for summer, and I’m late on my own schedule for next year’s planning, so my mind has been on books. 

 The oldest and I have been reading through Dante’s Inferno.   This book is considered an almost exact portrayal of medieval beliefs on the Christian faith.   In reading it, though, it occurs to me that the themes are similar, even in modern beliefs about life after death.    I’ve read similar portrayals in Mary Kay Baxter’s Divine Revelation of Hell

Led by the great author Virgil, Dante is escorted through Hell after he has fallen off the path of righteousness.    It is the hope of a demi-goddess that by showing Dante the eternal fate of those who do not walk with God, he will then seek to be restored.    So the trip begins, and so does my pondering.

One of the first groups of people that he meets are the peers of Virgil, called the Virtuous Pagans, whose lifetime precedes the rise of the Christian faith.    These men, and more specifically, their words, were considered great contributors to society—Homer, Horace, Ovid–but they didn’t know the Father.   Thus, their penalty in hell is simply that they dwelt there, with no hope of ascending to Heaven.    I never thought, as we are reading through history, what happens to those who lived before Jesus walked the face of this earth?   Are they given a chance at salvation?

Dante’s travels continue.   He descends further and further into hell, and the reader sees how creatively the punishments are crafted to fit the crime.    It is all too reminiscent of how we lift up some sins as if to say, “If those people follow 2 Chronicles 7:14, the rest of us would be alright.”     Is punishment in hell based upon what specific sins we commit in life?   I’ve never my taught my children this, either here or my children in Sunday School class.    I’ve taught them that all sins need repentance; without repentance, we will not meet our heavenly Father.    I’ve taught them that we are not perfect beings, but our quest is to strive to be more like Christ with each day, and to never forget, regardless of where life takes them, of His grace and mercy.     Nazi POW camp survivor Corrie Ten Boom said it best: there is no place that man so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.

Is hell the multi-storied chasm where we are punished according to our deeds here on earth?   I pray to God that I never find out.    However, I embrace the book for what its message was intended to make me do—think.    And I’m thankful that whatever the vessel that the Lord chooses to use, we are reminded once again of the need of a resurrected Saviour.   Thank YOU sooooo much.

Winter Storm

 Ecclesiastes 3: 1-13 

There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 6 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 8 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.

 9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.