Having cancer is like being blindfolded, forced into a vehicle and traveling to somewhere. Yes, that’s it – somewhere. Period.
The doctors and the medical team hold the map and plan a route to a particular destination but the arrival time is uncertain because there is no guarantee there won’t be some roadblocks and detours along the way. And the vehicle you travel in may not be a cushy, comfy limo; it might be a beat up old truck with no suspension left.
My memory recalls all of those who I know with cancer; some are patients, others survivors and some are gone. Not one of them told the doctors they wanted to take a trip; they didn’t choose to take a break from every day routine and predictability to go to somewhere. This trip interrupted and imposed itself on them. No one was expecting this trip.
Who appreciates a predictable and routine day, week, month and year? Who appreciates the comfort of a roof over your head, a comfortable bed to sleep in, fresh food and water, plumbing, grocery stores, gas stations, giggling (or grouchy) children and a dog that wags it’s tail when he’s happy to see you? I like all of this, in fact, I count on all of this – every day, week, month and year.
Something happened this week that blindfolded a bunch of people and they were taken on the trip of their life. The authorities thought they held the map but no one was prepared for the wind that blew the map out of their hands, the wind called Super Storm Sandy.
Today is Saturday, a weekend day. This day is for many a day off of work and school. A day for grocery shopping, perhaps cleaning the house or yard, attending your child’s sporting event and watching lots of football on your big screen T.V. Two weekends ago millions of people from the midwest to the east coast lived a very normal, predictable and routine Saturday; not one person was thinking about what they would be doing in two weeks, fourteen days, from that Saturday. Probably millions of them thought that they would just be spending another Saturday like all of their other Saturdays.
Last Saturday the warnings were broadcasted; all of these millions of people were told to prepare for a very big storm. As a matter of fact, this big storm was to collide with two other storms effecting a wide area. This was so concerning and threatening that the police and safety authorities went door to door to tell them to evacuate their houses, to move away to higher ground. Some listened, others did not.
Today, Saturday, millions of people’s day, week, month and year routine, their predictable, unchanging and perhaps boring routine was upended. They were blindfolded, thrown into a vehicle and are now being driven to a destination unknown. Without a doubt, the arrival time is uncertain because of the many roadblocks and detours they will encounter along the way.
I had cancer. I was blindfolded and traveled in an old car (not a limo or a beat up old truck) and eventually came to the end of my journey. My car was okay, the traveling was to be expected with the roadblocks and detours but I did arrive at the destination the docs mapped out for me.
My life is back to predictable and routine. (Hey, it’s a typical cloudy day in northwest Montana – predictable for this time of year.)
I woke this morning refreshed after sleeping in a warm bed. My coffee beans were ground and dripped upon for a perfect cup of hot coffee. I fed the dogs and let them outside to do business. My chair is where it should be and I sat down to drink my coffee. My dog, Madaline, as always, snuggled up against my left side, always on the left side. My Bible was in the right place for me to pick up and read and take some notes. My computer turned on and I read my emails and Face Book page. The telephone rang. Someone’s in the shower. I have to bake an apple pie today. We will watch a football game on the big screen T.V.
Hundreds of thousands of people woke this a.m. somewhere not their home because they don’t have a house anymore. Some people slept on someone else’s floor, uncomfortably and maybe a bit cold. They didn’t have their coffee and if they went to go buy a cup somewhere the lines were too long but they waited anyway. Their dogs are in a shelter somewhere or their dogs are no where to be found. Because they have no house, they have no chair to sit in to drink their coffee and snuggle with their dog. Their Bible is somewhere under the murky water and they certainly do not have electricity for their computers or any hand-held devices that need charging. Telephone? Shower? Apple pie? Football game?
The predictability of life can change in an instant whether you are waiting for the results to a test or the arrival of a storm.
This morning as I reflected on my life and my now very routine Saturdays, I prayed for all of those who will live an unasked for Saturday. I don’t know how my one prayer said from my chair with my coffee to my right and my dog to my left will change the lives of those who feel they have nothing today. But thankfully, my God does know them, He knows all of their names and He knows their sorrow and sadness and grieving. My prayer may be very general but God is very specific.
Please, God, bring comfort to those who need comfort. I can’t wrap my arms around them but You can through others. Please send those others to hug those I can’t. Amen.