He is close. He’s always close. He speaks. He’s always all around. I don’t know how he talks to me the way he does, but he does. If you don’t believe, that’s okay. I don’t believe sometimes either. But even when I lose my grip on him he never loses his grip on me. I love Jesus. He’s a good friend.
Today, my doctor ordered me some blood tests, which he knows is one way to make me feel very much better already. I am very blessed to have a GP who is understanding of both my real and very colourful medical history, and my penchant for illness-related anxiety. He knows if I get any inkling whatsoever something could be cancer, I’ll be there in his office in a jiffy, and thus, there I was this morning. But he’s patient, and very firm with me. I’ll get my blood tests, but probably not much else unless something is really wrong. He’s told me more than once to get on my bike when I’ve asked for CT’s, biopsies and a radioactive iodine scan. Besides, if I have one more scan, I’ll probably be responsible for my own leukaemia.
In July 2003, I was diagnosed with aggressive Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. At stage 3B (there are only 4 stages, and B means it had begun spreading around my body) the tumour in my chest was as big as a saucer. My treatment consisted of three months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiotherapy. During this time, we had the wonderful opportunity to be supported by a church community who cooked my family hot meals most evenings and provided nothing less than amazing support.
However, there were times when I wondered what belief systems people limp around with, and about what was being preached in churches and printed in books about sickness and supportive care. For the information of those wishing to be a support to those with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses, I offer the following. This list will be based on actual statements which were made to me either whilst I had cancer or in the months following my successful treatment.
Imagine what a musician, what a dancer, what a poet, what a painter, what a writer I’d be by now, if only, if only I’d never stopped every time I heard a voice say “Ah! That’s awful! For the love of God, stop it!” I wish that I’d remembered to say “Are you out of your mind? Of course it’s bad! Who are you – the friggin’ art police?”….and then just got on with it anyway.
Your passion has never died: it’s still with you, it’s still alive. It’s still your calling, and it’s still your dream. It’s still what you were born to do, and it’s still what you will be glad you did without compromise, whatever the cost. It’s not dead, and it’s not overdue. It’s coming.
The abundant life we are promised by our Maker is release from the indentity this Egypt has fashioned for us; fit only for producing consumables. But you, you, are an artist, you are a work of art. You were made to create, not just to make. You were created from an idea, not from a brick-mould. You are more than what you produce. Leave time. Time is where your dreams lie waiting to be realised.
This October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, all I ask of you is just two things: 1) That you may remember not every person diagnosed with breast cancer is female, and 2) That not every woman diagnosed with cancer has breast cancer. I actually hope to increase awareness that increasing awareness of cancer is only one side of the story. The other side is the responsibility we all have to become aware of the scope and effect all kinds of cancer have on a diagnosed person’s family and friends, on the community and on our society as a whole. Now that’s what I call cancer awareness.
Head hand and HEART is a weekend adventure exploring your creative potential and expanding your creative self expression. Facilitated by artisans and creative people from all over Australia, HHH will be an amazing opportunity to release the creative potential lying within you for art, for expression and for life.
The problem is not that we don’t know how to love people. It’s that we have this others mentality in the first place. Others has come not to mean other people, it has come to mean other sexual preferences, other religions, other genders, other ways of seeing and being which are different from our own. We look around us and see not one hundred people who need love and regard, but one hundred reasons not to love or regard people.
I want to tell those of you who don’t believe a person can be transformed, or that people don’t or can’t change, you need to come and see what God has done at my house.