At 64 I am now of an age where the presence of cancer has become personal. This is not to say that I have cancer but how astonished I am to discover how so many people I know have some form of it! In the beginning this realization left me tongue-tied. I mean, how do you respond when someone tells you they have cancer? To say, “There, there, it will be all right” is nonsense! Such a thing tells them that you can’t deal with the seriousness inherent in cancer, leaving them with the thought that they somehow need to comfort you!
In the study of “Chaos Theory” the “Butterfly Effect” proposes that the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings in Africa may end up on North America’s coast as a hurricane! Whether or not this is factually true the point is that we are all affected by one another and connected to one another by varying degrees. Hawaiians have a deep sense of connectedness to others, nature and to the sheer physicality of life! As a culture they possess a mindset of taking only what is actually needed, leaving some for others and of adopting others and making them family of the heart. What people with and without cancer need is that connectedness and our faithfulness. Not letting cancer win by isolating them from life happens when we keep showing up on sunny or rainy days and to be available in the dark middle of the night!
Cancer is personal. Even for those in close relationships when a person hears they have cancer there is the feeling of being singled out and being yanked away from everyone else’s normality. Cancer reduces US to just me and can be an isolating experience of aloneness. I once heard someone ask, “Do miracles only happen to people who pray?” The miracle that we ALL need most is that of relationship, of belonging, of knowing that someone keeps showing up in our life… even when we have cancer. Cancer is not “catching” and to keep showing up is the miracle we can give others whether or not it is prayed for.