I have understood that often people use science as their “religion”. Their feelings are that those who have faith are somehow lesser than people who base their future in the hands of science.
Don’t get me wrong, science is a wonderful thing. In my case stage 4 bladder cancer is the fourth most deadly type of cancer for men. Less than 15% of us live for five years after this dreaded diagnosis. (I was given 6 months!)
If you don’t think I was angry that God could allow me to end my life this way. Within a few days my anger melted away and I was left with fear. Not sure which emotion is the most damaging; however, I was able to eliminate the anger with gratitude for what I had experienced in life. Fear is a whole different thing and while I still have some fear I am finding that faith can defeat fear.
Many of you have heard that the experimental cancer treatment program I became involved in is proving, to date, to be very effective. Here is how this incredible science is intertwined with faith.
Approximately 80 people have been genetically qualified to be in this drug trial. These 80 people are scattered around the world. I was just the 4th person to qualify for treatment at MDanderson in Houston, Texas. Folks, I often sang the song, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all”.
Anyone who thinks this treatment is pure science needs to think about it a little more. Without faith and widespread prayer how else did I qualify for this “miracle cure”?
While I experienced the fear of a painful death, a few friends started to mention me in their prayers. One friend from my high school days had found his faith many years ago and he had people praying for me who I didn’t even know. These prayers included my desire to qualify for this targeted treatment therapy that almost nobody qualifies for. If you think that I was a dedicated Jesus freak, you might be wrong. I always felt we should live our religion everyday and not necessarily in a church. I was wrong.
I am here to tell you this. I have done some things in my life that I am certainly not proud of. It’s easier for me to remember the good things I’ve done, but that my friends is just mental fertilizer (bullshit) that I was telling myself as I pleaded to God for mercy.
My promise prayer was that if I could be spared and given a little more time I would dedicate my remaining life to helping those less fortunate.
My loving wife and inspiration.
The following is a short list of a few things I am grateful for:
- Getting additional time to enjoy my 13 grandchildren.
- Realizing that these grandchildren, and all children, are our replacements.
- As we all will pass from this life to the next, a very intelligent woman informed me that while we all will pass, the way we pass is what really counts. So if you are going down, do it with style and dignity.
- Taking some time to “payback” to those less fortunate than myself. (somehow it feels better to do this anonymously)
- Realizing that while science is great, faith is greater.
- Accepting others, shortcomings and all.
- Realizing that everyone is traveling the same journey of life, the old hand up is always better than a handout.
- Taking the time to enjoy every morning and the first cup of coffee.
- Forgiving all those who have trespassed against me and saying a prayer for them.
- Accepting my children’s accomplishments and praying for them to continue expanding their life adventures.
- Realizing that my wife is my partner throughout our life. Also thankful that her faith has been contagious.
- Accepting others, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation is the only way to enhances everyone’s existence. Judge not, lest you be judged.
- Kindness is something that beholds the giver more than the receiver.
- While cancer is a terrible thing, so are mass shootings, war and other crimes against humanity.
- We don’t always have a choice of when, or how, our life will end. I have been blessed with a little more time to smell the roses. That others may also realize this prior to the final curtain is the hope.
- Being able to discuss cancer with other cancer victims is a form of redemtion.
So might I suggest that every time you are angry about something, take a moment to write down something you are grateful for.
Peace be with you and yours during this holiday season.
Getting ready to head back to Illinois for about a month. If you are around Normal, stop in for a little cheer. I promise no preaching, just some cheer.