On December 18 – 18 years ago – I was in surgery. The diagnosis had come on the previous Friday, December 13, that I had infiltrating ductile carcinoma. Everything stopped. All Christmas shopping. All Christmas going. All of a sudden it really didn’t matter if every Christmas present under the tree was beautifully wrapped…or if we had cranberry sauce on Christmas Day. Bob took off work the rest of the year while we listened, learned, researched and sorted out what we needed to do.
The real question became, “How can something so terrible turn into something good?” Alexander Pope, a poet in the 1700’s, and I may not agree on everything related to our faith in God, but we enthusiastically agree on his most famous quote which has become proverbial:
“Hope springs eternal.”
I also agree with a dear friend who once said, “I pray no suffering I endure will be wasted.” For me those two quotes mean that in the midst of the trial, there are lessons — many lessons — to be learned. For me the ones that perhaps have been the most important are that I am fragile, every day is a gift from God, there is a lot I do not control, there is hope in trusting that God loves and cares for me and that He will in some miraculous way turn this bad thing into something good.
And that He has. I treasure these days – life is not a burden to be endured, but a gift to be celebrated.
Many of you are currently enduring some great suffering today – but remember hope continues to spring eternal. God bless you all.
For TBT and especially for the writers and poets who are iSissies, here is a picture of Alexander Pope and an excerpt from An Essay of Man.
Respecting man, whatever wrong we call,
May, must be right, as relative to all.
In human works, though labour’d on with pain,
A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain;
In God’s, one single can its end produce;
Yet serves to second too some other use.
So man, who here seems principal alone,
Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown,
Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal;
‘Tis but a part we see, and not a whole.