I have begun my time as a volunteer at the cancer center. I know there was some concern that this would be too close to home for me being as I am still receiving treatments myself. I imagine there might be days where this could be difficult. I realize too, that it will mean beginning more relationships with people who may not have long to live, and I am okay with that now. These courageous fighters need to be able to smile and laugh just as much if not more than most. And I am ready for that.
I have already met some amazing folks on this same journey and have come to understand that there is a bond that cuts through the usual "getting to know you" phase of a relationship and gets right down to whats important and what is real. For them right now, treatment is real. Very real! It's scary, it can be lonely, and it's long and tiring. Sometimes, it is nauseating, literally, and it can even have life threatening side effects of it's own. At best, the side effects are minimal, but make no mistake, there are side effects. Some are temporary, and can be fairly easily dealt with, and some are permanent. These patients have opted for this form of treatment in hope that it is their best option to kick cancer in the _ss! Dealing with side effects is just part of the packaged deal. I know. My joints remind me frequently.
Having the opportunity to listen and maybe answer a question or too is so humbling and gratifying. It reassures me that there is purpose in my journey. Not that I haven't already found plenty along the way this last year, but this is an opportunity to give back in a specific way.
As a believer, we talk about being a body. Each of us representing a different part, and yet working together to make a whole. We as the church have the privilege to be different parts depending upon what God is calling you to do. If you step up to the challenge no matter what part you are being asked to play, God will meet you there.
Today, I was an ear. This is not a part of the body that I am as well practiced in as I should be or would like to be. And yet today, I listened... To a sweet fighter who is beginning a long and frightening road. What started as a simple trip to the doctor to fix a "muscle pain", ended up giving a diagnosis of caner. And not just cancer in an isolated place, but all throughout the body. Not what they were expecting to hear at all. I listened as they told me about their family and each of the precious members in it. I listened as I heard about a life long hobby they hoped to be able to continue in the future. I smiled as I was privy to a tender look as a beloved spouse was described beautifully and with such gratitude and loving detail. I quietly listened with attentive eyes as they relayed their prognosis and fear of the future. I heard the details about chemo reactions that almost ended the fight. And we shared a smile as they described their faith in a living God, and a strong desire for this to be used for a greater purpose.
Today, I was an ear. I was not noticed for adornments or piercings. I was quietly serving by listening.