The little, roughly drawn, illustration is from my prayer journal late last week after my wife’s breast cancer was confirmed – she named it Arnold. She had a dream that she had either a reluctant dog on a lead or possibly a small child on reins, or possibly both as they seemed to merge. Whatever they were / it was, through a convoluted narrative in which she was supposed to go places and get things done, Arnold was holding her back and making her rather cross with frustration. As a metaphor it seems to work rather well.
The prognosis is good and it seems to be caught quite early though treatment will include surgery, radiotherapy and some sort of hormone reduction medication. It has been wonderful with folks rallying around to tell us positive recovery stories and the more positive stories we can hear the better. The prayer support has likewise been wonderful and though I feel very stretched and have been somewhat melancholic, we feel the security of Gods loving embrace.
So ‘Lez’ is another name on my lengthy prayer list that I rehearse in my head several times a day – when I wake, when I walk, before I sleep or sitting in a waiting room. She slots in nicely with Lesley M and Lesley B – what is it with Cancer and the name Lesley? (that’s not to do a disservice to Margaret and Anna and Paul and the rest who are also living with an Arnold of their own – or trying to make sure he does not come back!)
The thing about this sort of intrusion into one’s life which was totally unexpected as it followed a routine screening rather than the discovery of symptoms, is that it that it does present a challenge to faith when it comes to healing and miracles. I thought it might be more tricky than it is…
My own personal mantra is that ‘stuff’ happens, bad things happen to good people. Occasionally there are visibly tangible miraculous healings but I suspect that most of the time it is down to the health service backed up with the positive attitude of those who have a deep belief in the love and power of Jesus.
The temptation is to be a bit like the bloke dangling from a cliff shouting to God for help.