We have a close cousin in our family who is 45 years old. He has four young children at home. Amazing partner. Exciting law career. Everything going for him.
A few months ago while working, he had a seizure. They rushed him to the hospital. “You have glioblastoma,” the doctor said. “It’s a fast-growing form of brain cancer. We will do everything we can.”
Yesterday we learned that the treatment so far hasn’t worked. The cancer is growing. Time is running out.
So many of you have walked this road with people you love. It’s a roller-coaster of hope and heartbreak. You do everything you can think to do – change diets, enter trials, research medical journals, talk to survivors, talk to the families of those who didn’t survive – trying to navigate through this confusing horror that threatens the one you love.
I often think of the first lines of the Grail Legends:
“Here is the Book of thy Decent,
Here begins the Book of the Holy Grail,
Here begin the terrors,
Here begin the miracles.”
In this journey of terror and miracles, the ending is still unclear.
These experiences strip us down to what is finally essential. When all of the distractions and drama of life fall away, it seems that the point of it all is simply who you loved and how well you loved them.
My grandfather used to tell me as a young girl, “Cameron, life is about relationships. The quality of your life depends on the quality of your relationships.” I now know he was gifting me with the key to it all. He was trying to help me not waste precious, sacred time.
Grief is heavy and thick and around us everywhere these days. We are watching the ending of so much that we loved in ourselves and our world. But that was always part of the deal, wasn’t it? Nothing goes on forever.
That’s where the miracles come. I’ve written in past meditations about the Japanese art of Kintsugi. Artists take broken pieces of pottery and join the pieces using melted gold to shape beautiful new creations.
I don’t believe for one second that God breaks us. God does not make bad things happen. God did not give my cousin cancer. But here we are, breaking into pieces because cancer exists in the world.
My deepest hope, the hope upon which I base my trust in a kind and just world, is that from the pain that breaks us apart, somehow the Spirit shapes us into new, beautiful creations. In the end, I hope we can be more beautiful for having been broken. But also…I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Cancer sucks.
We are in this together,