Such an ugly word. A word that is filled with fear and pain, hopelessness and loss. A word in which the treatment is as bad as the disease, a word that contains no promise of a cure.
We’ve lived through cancer twice now in my close family. Once in one who had lived a long and good life and who chose not to fight. Once in one who had just begun her life as wife and mother and who fought with every bit of strength she had. Both times, our cancer word contained death and loss.
Perhaps this is why when someone I know learns firsthand of the horrors of this word, it stirs up something inside of me. We all have causes and issues that make our hearts feel more weighty, that bring us to tears. Causes alone, though, don’t have the power to stir us up the way an individual can. I give money to causes, but a cause will not change me in the way that a person can. God works through the personal to deepen our hearts in a way that a faceless cause never can.
Perhaps if I see pictures on the news or in the papers of victims of earthquake, flood, drought, I will write a small check for the cause of world hunger, and I may even refrain from meat on Wednesdays; but as long as I am responding to a cause it will not affect my entire life, my very breathing. It is only when I see discrimination and injustice in all its horrendous particularity as I walk along Broadway, that my very life can be changed. If it was necessary for God to come to us as one of us, then it is only in such particularity that I can understand incarnation…But a response to a cause will never change my life, nor open my heart to the promptings of the Spirit. ~ Madeleine L’Engle in The Irrational Season