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Transparent Thoughts

The Real Thing

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 • Marcia Swearingen • General

     At a retreat awhile back, I asked God to remove a spirit of fear.  He was faithful and went right to work. But sometimes, before things can get better, they have to get worse.


     That same weekend, holding hands, heads bowed on behalf of a cancer-stricken friend, the woman beside me, who is a nurse, whispered, "Marcia, you need to have that place on your arm examined.right away."


     It must have been a miracle. The dermatologist had a cancellation on Monday.  But he offered no words of assurance.  Having lost two friends to malignant melanomas, life suddenly took on a deeper perspective.  Sunsets were savored, loved ones more dear, irritations less important, and God more near.  A lot of spiritual ground can be covered in five days of uncertainty, with many gifts of insight along the way.  Like any good vaccine, a small measured dose of the real  thing builds antibodies against something larger.  Thankfully, the Friday biopsy came back "pre-cancerous," but completely removed.


     At home there was a collective sigh of relief, but I didn't want the lessons learned to evaporate in the heat of daily living.  Although I'd never want to live there, somehow I had been more "alive" in the valley than on the arid plain.  How could I ever be the same again?  Yet the warp speed of real time was resuming.


     A week later I came home, sifted through the mail and ripped open a cheerful pink envelope addressed to me from a local clinic.  The first line gripped my gaze: "There is an abnormality in your annual mammogram.."  The letter closed with: "Call your doctor immediately."  That's hard to do at 5 p.m. on a  Friday.  So I started using my new "fear antibodies" right away,  but they were being used up so fast, I needed to make some more.  Is this a booster shot God?  Why does making antibodies hurt so much and take so long?


     I couldn't get in for a re-shoot until Tuesday and the results didn't come back until.Friday-another week under a cloud. Mercifully, another false alarm, but it sure did feel real.  And yet,  it had to, to effectively address the problem.


     Psalm 23:4 says:  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil: for you are with me: your rod and your staff-they comfort me."  But how can we really know that until we've been there?  And once we have, there is a healing that's deeper than physical.


     Like the old hymn says: Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.  How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed."


     So my husband said, "Are we going to do this every Friday?"


     "Probably not ," I  reassured him, "but I bet there will be pop quizzes."

Visitor Comments (3)

The real thing

Have been through some of what you mention here. Isn't it amazing what we learn and how close we draw to the Lord in those awful times! All lessons that we hopefully won't have to go through and learn too often!

Facing Cancer Again.....

Dear Friend,

As you already know, I am facing cancer again....metastatic lung cancer from prior colon cancer. I thought this was some gross error surely but no, it was true and the reality of knowing there is no cure this time has been a
tough pill to swallow. I think it is still stuck in my throat in fact. I quoted the 23rd Psalm as I sat in my car weeping following the doctor appt. that Monday. I was angry when I was told
that tests showing recurrent malignancy 5 months ago had been misread or msinterpreted...certainly
the test results were
communicated incorrectly to me the patient.
I was to start back to work yesterday, instead I was having a PET scan performed to see if the cancer has spread to other organs or tissues.
Today, my family and I meet with our new oncologist and he will review the findings and discuss treatment options. I am all for the treatment with the least side effects and for quality of life at this point.
I am not giving up.....just giving it to God because this one is beyond me and the doctors. God has to heal me or I will not be well until I go on to heaven plain and simple.

I believe in God's ability to heal and have faith to receive it so now it is wait and see time. I plan to distribute stuff that matters only to my four kids and me and laugh and cry while we do this. I am telling my hubby I love him every day, several times a
day because I do not want him to forget my voice speaking love to him. I am telling my children and grandsons I love them every day too as I do not know when my last day will be to have this privilege.
I look to the cross and remember what Jesus did for me...He gave his life to save me and to heal me. I trust I will be a miracle for Jesus but if not, I will be a person who chooses love instead of hate and
forgiveness instead of anger and bitterness.
I have had several cancer "scares" in the past with basal and squamous cell skin cancer and a questionable breast biopsy but these past two events have kept me on my knees praying for peace and miraculous healing.
Thanks, I enjoyed the article as it is so relevant to many people dealing with different types of cancer today. Emma P.

The Real Thing

Very good thought, Marcia. We all need to keep those fear-moments in our rear-view mirror, and learn to appreciate life's blessings daily. We are a blessed people and need to be a grateful people as well. Phyllis Qualls Freeman

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