Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Hate Cancer. The simple tee shirt with stark white letters keeps coming to my mind. It’s like hearing a song in the drive thru at Sonic I really don’t like, but keeps running over and over in my head. It just won’t leave me alone. I’ve thought a lot about that tee shirt and how it reflects the feelings of so many. Cancer is mean and it picks on such nice people like the bully on the 6th grade playground. Granted it hits those who are asking for it by living a reckless lifestyle, but it also gets in the face of innocent people who in no way are looking for trouble.

Esophageal and stomach cancer smacked my brother-in-law, Joe. My friends Gaye, Mary Anne, and Marti, have been blindsided by breast cancer. Shelley has been through nine surgeries since this time last year. Another dear friend is having her second surgery today. Battling cancer is a grueling fistfight that wears its victims slick and leaves their families drained. Even though my mother’s voice whispers in my ear “We don’t hate”, if she were here I just know she would say hating cancer is an OK thing to do.

I’ve not had to go toe-to-toe with cancer in my body. But I considered another kind of bully that sneers at me and if you’re honest, you’ll probably admit it does you too. It’s kind of a mental malignancy that becomes such a part of our thinking it seems normal. It’s deadly and, over time, chips away at who we are. When we peel back the layers of this affliction at the very core, doubt, worry and fear sit taunting us. They whisper to our hearts: “What if I’m not smart enough?” “What if I try and fail? “Things just aren’t going to get better.” Just like the song at Sonic, it sings over and over and over in our heads.

It’s disturbing when I realize what I’m listening to on the Ipod in my mind. Just like eating too many chips at a Mexican restaurant, I know better, but I do it anyway. Second Timothy 1:7 jolts me back to reality every time I start mentally slinking lower and lower. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” It makes me want to slap my forehead and yell, “What was I thinking?” I am a strong, loving, powerful, smart women and God loves me and thinks I’m fabulous. So there!”

How do we get so off track and let our thoughts boss us around like the grade school intimidator? Stand up and remember who you are when they back you in to a corner like the mean kid on the jungle gym. Don’t let yourself be pushed around by mental heckling.

I Hate Cancer! Progress is made every year in the prevention, detection and treatment of this ruthless disease. For that, I’m so grateful. Wouldn’t it be interesting, though, if there were a machine that detected tumors in our thoughts? What would your test results look like?

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