When I was young I remember watching my step-mom’s mom die of lung cancer. I remember seeing her laying in the hospital bed only days before she passed. She looked different. Flat and shrunken. It was horrific. The memory of seeing her laying there unconscious and wheezing for air was seared onto my mind. I hate cancer. Hate it with a passion. I don’t know a life that has not been affected by it.
So when it was discovered around Christmas time that my grandma on my step-dad’s side (the dad who raised me and who passed away a few years ago), that she was diagnosed with cancer, lung cancer, I felt the wind knocked out of me. Not again.
On into January and February she began to do tests to determine precisely how bad it was. One doctor did not sound very optimistic and I remember her telling me she said to him in exasperation, “Are you telling me there’s no hope?! Is that what you’re saying?!” She said he made it sound like she was going to die; like that was that. No hope. I don’t know if she got another doctor or if the one she had changed his tune, but she was given renewed hope: the type of lung cancer she had was defeatable. There was a chance she could beat this. Hope.
And with hope came action. A fighting chance was a call to action, a call to fight the fight of her life.
She followed all of the instructions the doctors gave. Went through all for of the treatments aggressively, even embracing the wig. Tests. Treatments. Solitude.
Then just the other day I came home late from work to find a message on the phone:
“Hi Derek it’s grandma, I just want to pass on some good news. I went to see the doctor today and the tumor’s all gone from my lungs. What a blessing, thank you God!”
Amen! I wanted to cry I was so happy. I had a hard time sleeping even. Hope. It gives people a fighting chance. Hopelessness, it’s why people give up.
Not everyone is fighting cancer. But too many people are fighting hopelessness of a different sort. They drift through life taking for granted the very thing that others who are facing death fight so hard to have: quality of life. Instead they coop themselves up, take to the bottle, hibernate in front of the computer in a darkened room, nestle in on their couch without ever bothering to put on pants. These people are hopeless in a different way. Life has knocked the wind out of them.
Hope is a powerful motivation for life. Hopelessness is a white flag of surrender.
Hope has a name. Jesus.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)