Cancer—the “C” word. Say it and you can get a range of reactions from something short of a scream to a shrug with a “Oh, my <fill in the blank> had that.” A rather broad scope, wouldn’t you say? But both responses are hard on the heartstrings. The almost-scream makes me want to pat their back and comfort them. As for the shrug—I’ve found that silence causes the least trauma (to me). One question or comment will cause the “shrugger” to launch into a blow-by-blow description of the experience their friend/loved one/neighbor had—including gruesome details and usually punctuated by the pronouncement “Oh, they’re dead now.”
So what is the optimum reaction to a cancer diagnosis? I’m sure it is different for people, but I am most comforted by the “P” word—“I’ll Pray for you.” Regardless of whether or not they ever get around to praying is irrelevant. I am still humbled by that simple phrase. Their very statement is a prayer. And it’s enough.
And by the way, I don’t mind hearing “I’ll pray for you” over and over. Tell me as many times as you want. I won’t get tired of it. And the beauty is God doesn’t get tired of it either.
(Originally posted December 22, 2016)