Monday, June 02, 2008

Benefitting from cancer

Last Time Around, probably one of the biggest spiritual issues with me, one that I internally, externally, and vociferously railed about, was the concept that Little Warrior getting cancer would in any way benefit the world, let alone me, personally.

Rather soon after her initial diagnosis, someone said to me that this would make me a better minister.

Which just goes to show that "message" is not as important, sometimes, as "messenger." Because I did not take this well, and not only did it not bring me comfort, it probably precipitated ice-cold atheism running through my veins. Oh yeah? She is suffering so that I can learn? I suck so bad as a potential minister, I need my baby daughter to get cancer in order to form me into an acceptable candidate? The Universe operates in such a way that she will be sacrificed so that I can better help others, some day? The world will be a better place, because she got cancer???

It's all in the delivery; all in the messenger.

So last time around, I flatly refused for anything good to come of this. Because it felt like there was a backward message: that if something good came from it, that therefore was the cause.

Which isn't logical, but it's a pretty common fallacy. "See, it all happened for a reason!" (Just talk to Pastor Hagee.)

I found a way to make my peace with that. Because the truth is, we can learn and grow through every experience. That doesn't mean the experience was the only way for us to learn the lesson; it doesn't mean that lesson was worth it. And it definitely doesn't mean the lesson caused the event from which it sprang.

Still and all, though, it's hard. If I were the one with cancer, well heck, I would be the one paying the price, so any "benefit" I could get from it, bring it on!

When it's your child who has cancer, that just doesn't work.

This last week, my darling sister-in-law, AdventureGirl, brought one of her superfriends down and they planned out -- and purchased -- a deck for our backyard. She's very outdoorsy (she's a little boy, she'd rather sleep on the cold hard grown with bugs crawling all over here than be in a luxurious four-poster featherbed) and it was just killing her, having to tell Little Warrior, "No, you can't go out. The sun is still up." So, she decided LW needed a deck, pronto, with a popup screened gazebo, which she also purchased.

This weekend, friends of ours came over to help with the laboring. There's still work to be done, but we are almost in possession of a fabulous deck that will apparently outlast our actual house.

We have a deck! A fabulous, sturdy deck!

And it's because LW has cancer again.

You see the problem.

So, I think I've made peace, and for the most part I have, but it's still a struggle. This experience does bring with it some positives. We're getting to see more of family than normal. We get to meet really amazing people. All of us, friends and family, are more willing to speak of our love for each other.

And walnut butter. I mentioned the walnut butter, right?

And now, we've flat leaped into making lemon pie, with Love Through Action. Let the world benefit, in some small way, from this spunky, funny kid fighting cancer.

Because I know, and am peaceful with, the fact that no deck, no good deed, nothing othing wothing ... makes it worth it.


goodwolve said...

Well, I am a complete dork and just keep dropping things so I may not be the best to communicate to you right now.... BUT I found myself, days after my dad died, appalled at what people said and didn't say. I KNOW they mean well. I KNOW they are trying to help me see that I will grow from this, but really it was all too crushing for me to hear.

I believe that there are no real answers... no big "OH that is why that happened." So, if we get anything good out of bad we are damn lucky.

So here is to finding your luck during what is in all manner of saying a horrible situation.

Chalicechick said...

Miss Manners suggests two alternatives for comforting things to say:

1. I'm sorry.
2. I'm SO sorry.

Now, sometimes I saw more, but sometimes I don't, and either way knowing that those are the preferred statements does tend to keep the human tendency to make things all better in check.


Sara said...

I've just started reading your blog, and this particular post has really touched me and made me think. It in no way compares, but several years ago I miscarried my first pregnancy. People mostly tried to spin this as a good thing for me: "maybe you weren't quite ready to be a mom yet", "it will bring you two closer and make you better parents", etc. I've come to look back on it in much the same way, thinking that it made us love our son more when he was born healthy and made my husband realize he was ready to be a Dad. But your post here has made me think and feel about that again, and I feel a desire to mourn that baby without looking for any "benefit" from its death.