Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Cancer Day. Hope Day?
I have noted before that I couldn't possibly keep up with all the national and international "Day of" and Day for" occasions in this blog. There may be an International Day of No Subject in Particular, although its likely that all 365 in the year are taken, and then some.
This is World Cancer Day, a day that I obviously prefer did not have to exist. The theme this year is the myths of cancer, some of which are illustrated above. I fervently wish that this disease in all its forms had long ago been eradicated, and that all the wonderful people in my various pastorates hadn't had to contend with cancer's awful toll on their lives and of those around them. This year the theme is "debunking myths" which makes sense. http://www.worldcancerday.org/
Everyone in pastoral ministry has been a companion alongside those with cancer. Some of our folk have lived far longer than their prognoses, while others have gone quickly. More importantly from my standpoint is that many have been treated and recovered. Some have gone into remission for years, while others have been given the "all clear." During 30-plus years of ministry some cancers which were automatic death sentences have become treatable. Both chemotherapy and radiation have become more sophisticated, so they provide a viable treatment option that doesn't always seem worse than the disease itself. Detection seems to have become much better as well, which makes a difference to longevity. This is the hopeful aspect of this day.
But I do think of so many individuals I have respected and loved who died because of cancer, and it is sobering. We have also been told this week that the incidence of cancer is about to increase rather than diminish, which is an ominous prospect.
Today I pray for members of this congregation who are contending with cancer. There a number of them. I pray for a sister-in-law who will soon begin another round of treatment after hoping that she would be given a respite of a few more months, or even years, before that possibility. I pray for all the family members and friends of those living with cancer, because they live with it too. I pray for researchers and fund-raisers and lab technicians and palliative care staff.
God give them courage and stamina and a sense of your abiding presence.
Comments? What are your prayers today? Have you dealt with cancer on a personal level?