There are times in the cancer journey when it's hard to sustain faith.
Kathy LaTour is a breast cancer survivor, author of The Breast Cancer Companion and co-founder of CURE magazine. While cancer did not take her life, she has given it willingly to educate, empower and enlighten the newly diagnosed and those who care for them.
One of the hardest issues I had in the cancer experience was God. At the beginning, I remember my rantings and ravings going something like this:
What the hell is going on in a universe that allows this kind of suffering? I have been a good person. I have never killed small animals. I haven’t broken any of the Ten Commandments. OK, there was that library book from the University of Texas on William Blake that I never took back, but come on.
If God's eye is on the sparrow, why can’t he see that I’ve been throwing up for 18 hours and can’t take it anymore?
If I’m not supposed to get more than I can bear, how could God finally let me get pregnant after two years and then not be able to mother the child I bore?
OK, enough – clearly I needed a new perspective.
Somewhere along the way, what I found was an awareness that because I believed in God did not mean life was going to be perfect. Indeed, it was the journey, the daily struggle that was the faith experience.
“Why me?” Became “Why not me?” I am not special except that I have faith that can be applied. We all have struggles – mine was cancer. God didn’t give me cancer. But by believing, I have the tools to deal with cancer, if I will only call upon them. Adversity has become a door to understanding.
Ironically, this gift was from women who were dying. When I finally came to a place where I could thank God for keeping me alive, it didn’t work. I had to look around at the women I loved who were dying. How could this happen? These were wonderful, caring people. Women with young children. Why them but not me? I am no more special. But from those who had a faith that I could only strive for came reassurance that the peace that passeth understanding is a real thing. Healing comes from the heart – and dying isn’t the worst thing that can happen. Being hopeless and without the faith that nurtures and grows is much worse than death.