November 1, 2011, by Todd Neva
Word of my diagnosis spread and my co-worker, Susan, reached out to me last week with great concern and empathy. My diagnosis was new news to her, and she was moved with compassion as she has shared in the suffering. Her husband, Jeff, lost his battle to lymphoma cancer at the end of August.
I find too often that those moved with great compassion have themselves suffered. Suffering is what connects us to humanity. It is what ties us all together and allows us to love in a Christ-like way, because Christ, with God-pure love, came to earth to share in the suffering of humanity. So for those of you who have suffered, or are suffering, know that you have purpose: allow God to use you to love others.
Susan is still healing. She’s making good choices for herself and her 16- and 13-year-old daughters—not being over scheduled, relying on her friends for support as she needs it. Of course, healing takes time. A death, or a terminal diagnosis, is like a laceration on your arm, a deep cut. There is nothing that you can do to regrow skin. You can’t through sheer will cause your blood to clot then reconstruct itself into skin molecules. That’s God’s job. You can, however, make sure that the environment is conducive to healing. You can clean your wound and keep it from being infected. You can favor your arm, preventing tearing of the wound. You can change your bandages regularly. Then you just wait. One day, you peek under the bandage and notice that where there was once a cut, there is now skin. The scar may last forever, but the hurt is gone.
Over the last year and a half I have grown new skin where there was once a deep cut. Physically, there is no healing, only continual progression of this relentless disease. But God has healed my soul. I am stronger in my faith; as I grow weaker, Christ grows stronger. And I have been overwhelmed by the love and support of friends and family.