Over the last few years, I have had more opportunities than I have ever wanted to walk alongside friends who are battling disease and heartache. Growing up and throughout my life I have never felt that I was someone who had a very merciful heart, especially for those who were sick or dealing with physical hurts and ailments. I was always caring for friends going through emotional hurts, but the other stuff was always just too scary and hard for me and even some of the really deep emotional and mental health stuff was a bit daunting. I think God took that as a challenge and decided to let me know that I needed to grow in that area…and I have.
My journey in mercy started with a close friend who was battling pregnancy loss and infertility….I learned so much about listening, not coming up with trite answers and came to understand that there was NOTHING I could say that would take away the hurt. I grew a bunch then.
Early last year, my close friend’s son was diagnosed with a spinal cord tumour, that moved into his brain and to our great sadness, took his life this past April. He was only 16 years old. I was so nervous about being involved with him when he was in hospital as it was very much outside my comfort zone, but I sucked it up and helped out with getting him in and out of bed, radiation and was there when he was living his last hours and after he had died. It was hard for me, but I needed to be there for my friend.
The month before Daniel died, another very close friend was diagnosed with cancer and her life was looking to be cut short. My husband and I grieved as we supported her and her husband as they processed this news…she’s my age so it hit home even harder. We just cried, and hugged and worked through those days with them, especially her husband. Fortunately, she is doing well at this point and we’re very hopeful for a good outcome. Another lesson learned as cancer was even closer to home now.
Just a month ago, one of my best friend’s was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had surgery and is facing some further months of treatments. Now cancer is in my backyard, in my house, in my life in a new way. Once again, I realise that nothing I can say will take it away, but I can be there for her. Laughing in those moments when we can laugh, crying when we contemplate some of the hard parts of treatment, comforting kids, praying together and just loving her and her family practically. Darn…I thought I had learned this lesson already, but I guess I have more to learn.
I had a friend once say that he felt like a “cancer magnet”, I think that is me now. For some reason God has decided to grow me in mercy as I learn how to be a friend, a confidante and carer when cancer beckons.
Christy – Fit 4 Life Staff