Before starting this blog, I thought long and hard about the title. I wanted it to be something that had both meaning to me and would let readers know exactly what it was that I wanted to communicate. So many different titles came to mind, yet none of them truly captured what it was that I wanted this blog to be. That was, unbelievably enough, over a year and many life experiences ago. Life just is not what it had been the moment I started this blog, yet the title still holds so much meaning to me.
In the beginning, I was hoping to create a platform that drew from great literature (especially the Gothic) to communicate God’s truths. I began with a series from Sheridan Le Fanu’s In a Glass Darkly. The focus was on the passage from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians that tells us that we see love, not in its true form as explained in chapter 13, verses 1-7, instead, we see love as something darker, something that may in turn be inherently selfish, and, in many cases, something that is to be feared.
When looking at love in its negative, it becomes impatient, envious, boastful, proud, self-serving, easily angered, and keeping a detailed list of wrongs.
When looking at love in its negative, it becomes impatient, envious, boastful, proud, self-serving, easily angered, and it keeps a detailed list of wrongs. As one who had faced abuse, it was easy to look at love from this perspective and thus my posts followed this train of thinking, because, at the time, I honestly thought that the turning point in my life had been coming to rational terms with abuse. I was wrong.
Each of us have a moment in our lives that define us, that set us on a path, and becomes the driving force of our lives. All of us find this point to be exclusive to our given situation. No one person can say that their defining moment is the same as the person next to them; each of us brings to the table a particular set of life-shaping circumstances and our individual personalities dictate how we respond to those circumstances. That becomes what shapes us, a combination of situation and personality, making our life experiences and the point at which our lives begin to turn truly unique. This is what I wanted so much to capture with this blog, those defining circumstances that make each individual uncommon in the eyes of their peers, yet provide common ground to express those experiences.
For awhile, those experiences that I felt took my life in a different direction were enough to fuel the creative impulse to keep the blog going, then my life really began to change, bringing that creative impetus to a screeching halt.
I was no longer sure exactly who I was or what it was that I wanted to accomplish with the blog. Posts became rather random as I sought desperately for something in which they connected. But that common thread was no forthcoming.
I was no longer exactly sure who I was or what it was that I wanted to accomplish with the blog. Posts became rather random as I sought desperately for something in which they connected. But that common thread was not forthcoming. As a result, the creative impulse died and so did the blog.
After going through a radical surgery to debulk almost 200 tumors from my digestive tract, I found that life was taking a very significant and defining turn. The surgery left me in guarded condition, needing several blood transfusions, and 24 hour monitoring for days. During that time the only thing I could do was attempt to make sense of what the doctors and nurses were telling me through a drugged out stupor. I made out some details, but nothing that was cohesive enough for me to make sense out of, and, quite honestly, it would take days before I realized how grave my condition was for those first few days post-surgery. Traditional testing never revealed the extent of my disease or how invasive the cancer had become; it was not until the doctor had opened up my body that the damage was revealed, giving me the dubious honor of having the most tumors removed in a single surgery in my doctor’s decades long career.
This is where my story, in reality, finds its turning point. I had no idea how near death I had been or what it would take to turn my life around. It has been difficult to come to terms with what had happened and what will happen in the future. Even after such an extensive surgery, the cancer is still lurking in my liver and bone. It is incurable and carries with it a lifetime of treatment, evaluations, scans, and blood work.
However, in facing death I can say that I have truly found life, and life in abundance. No longer does death seem like an enemy to be fought against at all cost, but a gateway to total and complete healing when God deems my time is complete.
However, in facing death I can say that I have truly found life, and life in abundance. No longer does death seem like an enemy to be fought against at all cost, but a gateway to total and complete healing when God deems my time is complete. I will be victorious in both life and death. This truth has radically shaped my outlook.
No longer do I see life through a glass darkly, instead I can see love from a whole new perspective. Paul, in his letter to the Church at Philippi, tells of the chains in which he was bound for Christ. He knew that death was impending, yet he felt conflicted on whether he wanted to continue to live and bring the good news of the gospel to the world, or die and finally be united with Christ. Both to him would be equally glorious, yet being with Christ held a special appeal. Saul the persecutor of the Way had been transformed by the love of Christ into Paul the Apostle; he was a broken man and in that brokenness he found incredible life; life enough to cause him to declare that to live is Christ yet to die is gain (NIV Php 1.21).
This is the truth that I so desperately want to capture as I begin to write again for this blog. I want to capture the beauty of a broken life and the freedom that comes with the knowledge of brokenness. As I delve into literature post-surgery, I realize that many authors understood implicitly this truth and tried desperately to capture it within the pages of their work.
There is so much freedom in being broken. There is freedom in knowing fully that perfection cannot be attained, and life is something to be embraced instead of controlled.
They instinctively knew that this life was broken and coming to terms with that brokenness was the key to living a happy, productive life. It is only when we come to the end of the self, see our mortality face to face, that our lives begin to turn, bringing joy to the second half as we descend to the end of life. There is so much freedom in being broken. There is freedom in knowing fully that perfection cannot be attained, and life is something to be embraced instead of controlled. As I write from this point forward, I want my starting point for each post to be in brokenness that ends in freedom by drawing from the experiences I have had over the last year with cancer in all its debilitating glory.
Oscar Wilde writes that, “To live is the rarest thing in the world” and I believe he is right. It is not until we look mortality in the face that life really begins to make sense and all those things that were once so incredibly important fade off into the distance, never to be recovered in the same light again. Suddenly the little things in life, like the sunset, the laughter of a child, or holding the hand of the one you love becomes the most glorious thing in the world. Seeking fame, fortune, and a name means nothing and hugging those closest to you mean everything. Life takes on a beautiful new perspective. This, this singular idea, is what I want to capture as I move forward with this blog and I hope to capture the hearts of those who happen to stumble upon my ramblings. As I share what cancer has taught me, I pray that I can be a blessing to all who take the time to read.