Friday, February 04, 2011

TOPIC OF THE DAY: World Cancer Day

Did you know that this is "World Cancer Day?" I didn't until I saw it in the headlines. It's a good day to remember those who battle for life and those whom we've lost to the fight. Science has made great strides forward and I'm thankful to say that cancer no longer necessarily means we've run out of time.

I've known people with cancer, presently know some with it and I'll know others in the future. If statistics are correct, chances are pretty good that I will one day battle the disease myself. My father did. He died from a form of lymphoma in his early fifties--He was much too young. It's been many, many years since he left this earth, but it takes only a small reminder, like the article I came across, to carry me back to those days when he fought and lost.

Back in the 70's cancer was a dreaded word. I remember when my parents gathered all five of us children together to give us the news. Dad was dying. Of course they didn't tell us that right up front, but we knew soon enough. The doctor's told my father that they had no cure for the type of cancer he had, but that with treatment they could give him more time, possibly a couple of years.

With children still at home, my dad chose to fight for the time. Instead of two he battled hard and gained six. I'll never forget his war with cancer, the day of his death and a wet rainy afternoon when we laid him in the ground. But, what stands out above all the painful memories is the bright shining example he set for those close to him--how to live while dying. I still miss him, but when I consider how he lived out his final six years I smile as love and pride well up inside of me.

Chemo is rough and back then it could be torture. But he bravely faced the chemicals and radiation and shunned any notion that the disease and the treatments that came along with it would keep him down. He went right on living--every day. He understood that each day was a gift and he wasn't going to let even one slip by him. He never missed a day of work in five and a half years. He went sailing and fishing, worked in his garden, fished, played with his family and he laughed. . . a lot. He didn't waste one precious day. And in all those years I never heard him complain.

My father was the bravest man I've ever known. He stood toe to toe with cancer and although he died, he beat it--He beat its ability to rob him of joy. I have friends, right now, who are in the midst of this kind of battle. Again and again I see the same spark of determination and joy in them that I saw in my father. They refuse to roll over and let a diease destroy their life.

Over the years, my father taught me many lessons, but watching him thrive in the midst of the most difficult battle of his life has made me stronger. I witnessed his life and learned how courageous he truly was. I'm proud to be his daughter and today on World Cancer Day, I honor him. I thank God for giving me a father of character, who taught me by example what it means to live honorably.

We can live with honor, joy and peace even when life throws the worst at us. Let's not just remember on "Cancer Day", but every day. Love, laugh, work, and share yourself with others. Seize the beauty of every moment.

Grace and peace to you from God,


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