How Great Thou Part

I sit in the coffee shop about to write this column. 

Someone I know stops to sit at my table.

“Colleen, I just wanted to let you know I have brain cancer.”

I am at a loss. What do you say to someone who has just received this news?

These are the days the world takes a sudden shift. Where you become both frightened and aware of your blessings at the very same time.

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I try my best to offer comfort without stepping over the line of saying something inappropriate. I know this line well. Having suffered loss young in my life, many well-meaning people spoke things they simply should not have said.

“I will pray for you,” I say.

He indicates he is at peace. A spiritual peace.

“You might want to listen to Joel Osteen,” I say. “He speaks often of praying with faith for healing and of his own mother’s cancer diagnosis and her remarkable outcome.”

Again, he indicates a peace and surrendering and a gratitude for the present time.

I explain to him my own experience this past year, in particular when I began to pray what I call the Joel Osteen way. When I began to pray with faith rather than fear. Something which was not difficult for me to do in good times but immensely hard during overwhelmingly stressful and chaotic times.

Fear just kept slipping in through my spiritual cracks despite my tremendous devotion to God.

Then I remembered a fellow writer I used to know. He was a personal fitness trainer and nutrition advocate who after cancer went to nursing school and began to write about his experience.

He successfully eradicated cancer. The reason he chose to write about his journey? He felt strongly people misuse the words “fight” and “beat” cancer and what they should do is surrender to it. He believed the body didn’t have the ability to heal from cancer if it was going into ‘fight’ mode. He felt surrendering promoted healing and decreased the stress on the body.

These spiritual and physical ‘surrenderings’ are far more difficult to actualize than conceptualize.

Fear is perhaps our greatest ‘internal enemy.’

A contradiction because we invite it in and house it. Yet somehow we can’t show it to the door once it overstays its welcome.

I was about to say we can only ‘fight’ it with faith. I realize now perhaps that is the incorrect word to use. Instead, we must ‘surrender’ to fear in order to make it powerless rather than the powerful internal bully it is.

After all, once you surrender to an actual ‘bully’ they can no longer control you.

We are challenged to acknowledge fear as a part of life, not something we can avoid rather something we must accept as part of the human condition.

And pray to actualize our true spiritual and physical surrendering.

(Photos courtesy of Pexels)

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