Monday, November 23, 2009

ONCOLOGICAL ENCOURAGEMENT


It’s not often that the words “cancer” and “encouragement” show up in the same place.  Today, I got to see two people with cancer connect with others in a meaningful way…it was a God moment.

I was visiting a with friend at Willamette Cancer Center at Riverbend.  He was in the middle of a chemo session.  He was keeping a good face, but the chemicals were taking their toll.  As we visited, another man walked by and stopped.  Normally, this man would have walked out a back door.  Today, he walked to the front and “just happened” to go by us.

“I know you,” he said to me.  I introduced myself and called him by name.  He said he was doing fine and I told him I was fair.  That’s when he said he was closer to fair than fine.  It was becoming obvious he was not either.  My friend fished into a bag and pulled out a wristband.  On one part it says, “cancer sucks.”  On the other side, it says, “choose joy.”  The man was grateful; this gift from a fellow traveler picked up his spirits. 

This man is friends with a group of pastors I meet with monthly.  I invited him to join us.  He said he would rather not but would see me some other time.  No more than five minutes later, he was back and asked if he could still join us.  Most definitely, I said.  He joined us for coffee and a good discussion about how to handle a sticky church issue.  Everyone at the table benefited.  All this because this man chose to leave his cancer treatment by a different door.

In all this rambling, you may not see what I saw.  I could see God connecting his kids for encouragement and support.  He was helping us share joy, life and wisdom.  He was opening opportunities to love each other in the midst of very difficult circumstances where there are no easy answers.  The good news is we took those opportunities and made the most of them today.  What fun!  What a blessing.  Wow, how good God is to open the doors to help us walk together.