July 9

Written by Bill Grandi on July 9th, 2024

“You have Aggressive Stage III cancer.”

So you are told. It soon develops into Stage IV. No, that is not me. Sorry if you panicked as you read that. Well over 3 years ago-I’m thinking pre-pandemic- I read a book called Out of the Blue by Greg Murtha. Greg was a 46 year old man in the peak of physical condition (so he thought) when after an 11 mile run through Crocket Hills Trail in Middle Tennessee his life changed. Afterward, sweating but pumped he headed for the bathroom at the YMCA. That’s when his life changed. It appeared as if someone had poured a container of bright-rid blood into the toilet. He realized instantly, This is not good.  And it wasn’t. The diagnosis was a gut punch to use his words.

I have begun to reread the book. Not because I have cancer (at least not that I’m aware of) but because some people who are close to me do.  A friend. Friends of friends. People connected to the church. I needed, no wanted, some perspective. I remembered Greg’s book was uplifting and brought a whole new perspective to the cancer battle so as I was scanning through books for a future sermons series my eyes locked onto his book.  After reading the Introduction and first 21 pages I have already been reminded why reading it is a good idea. To quote Greg: “Don’t feel sorry for me. Strange as it sounds, I view cancer as a gift. I thank God for it because it means I’m not the man I used to be. Sure, this interruption to my well-planned life was jarring. And chemo is hell. But I’m thankful for cancer because it has given me the ability to focus on what matters.” (p.7)

That struck me. Being a typical male, I am sort of locked onto that “success syndrome” so many get attached to. It is not as bad as it used to be. At 71, while I want to continue being a part of advancing God’s kingdom, I also know my best days are probably behind me due to stamina and strength. But, to be honest, my heart burns more for Jesus than it did in my younger years. Maybe it is because of my age. I don’t know.  But a Bob Goff quote fits here: “God’s more interested in our hearts than our plans.” (p.7-8).  My dreams, goals and aspirations have never been realized, at least not to the scale I wanted them to. That is a good thing. But I wouldn’t trade my life for any amount of money or earthly applause. I realize now what is most important. (Took me long enough!) 🙂

I hope I don’t get cancer or any other life-threatening disease. Cancer runs in my family (mother and grandmother died of it. Two brothers have and had it). But if I do, I hope I can run that race with grace. I’ll write more tomorrow but let me leave you with this quote from Greg’s book:

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘WOW!’ (Hunter S. Thompson quoted on page xviii)

‘Nuff said.  Oh…As always, I welcome your comments.

 

5 Comments so far ↓

  1. We cannot control the course I lives might take, but we can most certainly control how we face those circumstances. God help all those who are suffering with cancer or another debilitating illness, and show us all how to live with grace in the moment.
    Blessings, Bill!

  2. gail says:

    I have walked with several people through their diagnosis of cancer. Some of them saved, some not, some angry, some God focused, some not. I have tried to learn from each experience how to better center someone’s life on Christ, and how to be a better support system to each person, and to the loved ones around each person. It is never easy, there have been times, I felt like I did not do enough, I fell short. The song going through my mind is from Vince Gill: What can you do to me, Threaten me with Heaven.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I have been a pastor for over 50 years Gail and I still find words had to come by from time to time. Sometimes saying nothing is the best thing to say/not say. Being there for them is the most important thing you can offer (except Jesus). I appreciate the fact that you care enough to make yourself available.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Fighting cancer or any disease like it takes a team. No one should or can fight alone.

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