Thursday, March 31, 2016

More Insights about God, Courtesy of Cancer

Yesturday, on the wild ride of cancer, I got to go for "genetic counseling" and then blood-work for genetic testing. If they find I have the breast cancer gene, I can kiss my lumpectomy goodbye. For the lumpectomy to be the operation of choice, I need three miracles.

1. No gene for breast cancer. (The results will not be back for 2-3 weeks.)
2. No cancer in the fun NEW biopsy of a "suspicious area" coming April 6. (the bruising from the LAST biopsy should be almost faded by then...)
3. If the first two miracles occur, and the surgeon does the lumpectomy, he must have "clean" margins in the tumors he removes. No cancer cells in the outer edge of his digging expeditions into my breast.

For you praying types, those are my specific prayer requests.

Now, see that photo above that caught your attention and you couldn't wait to read this blog? That is me, in the waiting room of the genetic testing department. I was the ONLY one there. They offered me CHAI tea. I was surrounded by quiet, mellow-hued walls, soothing plants, and the distant sound of water trickling in a decorative fountain. I felt like I was in a spa.

The cancer centers know just how to do it up right. I settled into my comfy chair, sipping my Chai tea, and thought, "If it weren't for the cancer part of this whole experience, I would think I was on an expensive vacation."

The genetic counseling was fun. They seemed very concerned that I be prepared for whatever my blood might reveal. I told them I am fine if my blood reveals I need a double mastectomy, as long as they take the fat from my thighs for the reconstruction. They patted me gently on my shoulder and thought I was joking.

Now the next unexpected blessing of the Cancer Center is that parking is free! They stamp my little parking ticket, and I could hang out there all day if I wanted to at NO COST. What fun! Who doesn't get a kick out of watching people hobble out of chemo, or stumble with gauze and bandages covering their face from the one-day surgery room?

Surprisingly, I found an even better way to capitalize on my free parking. Right next to the Cancer Center is the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. This is a project that put into practice one of my favorite philosophies of life. Take the ugliest part of something, and make it beautiful. So Charlotte took the polluted, trash-strewn, filthy Little Sugar Creek, and built a stunning pathway alongside it. They cleaned the creek, built parks, and erected statues and fountains along the walkway. Gorgeous pedestrian bridges were installed. Commemorative plaques and educational displays were strategically placed all along the many miles of the new greenway.

Since parking was free, I went on a long walk on the lovely greenway.

This is a magnificent statue of "Captain Jack", a patriot who rode to the Continental Congress in Philly to express Charlotte's resolve to stand with those who declared freedom from Britain. I think I have remembered that correctly, anyway. I loved the statue, and walked slowly all around it, stumped by the engineering. This is a heavy bronze statue...the weight of which is supported on three small points of contact. This does not seem possible.

That got me thinking. The weight of the world is on our shoulders. If you can't relate, give yourself time. One day you will. Everyone eventually experiences crushing burdens they cannot possibly sustain. Then, God tells us, Trust me. I have this covered. I can bear your burden. I can hold you up and all that terrible weight with three small points of contact: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I circled Captain Jack, and noticed from a picture on a plaque that the artist who made that lovely statue was very young. How could he have known at such a young age those three contact points were enough? It's taken me nearly sixty years to realize that.

John 14:26 

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 14:15-17

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Romans 5:3-5 

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

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