One of the awesome things about working with cancer patients is that I get to meet a lot of cool people. One of the hardest things is having to tell them good bye.
I said good-bye to my sweet friend Jennifer yesterday. I met her a couple of days after she was diagnosed with cancer last year. I got to know her well during the months she stayed at the hospital. She helped inspire several of my songs including one I wrote about in this article. She encouraged me even while she was facing her own horrific challenges. We bonded over music. We worshiped together in her small hospital room. We shared about our struggles and our fears. We talked about what it would be like to finally be free of our broken bodies and be home to be with Jesus.
When I came into work today to teach voice lessons, one of my coworkers gave me this angel figurine. This is her last year before she retires so she wanted to give me something as a memento. Not only was I touched by the gesture but also for the additional message from God that she did not even know she delivered. I know that, like the angels, she is in the throne room of God–His face shining on her in all His glory.
Jennifer, now you are free. It was an honor to know you and to walk with you through your cancer journey. You loved deeply. You cared deeply. You looked death in the face and soldiered on. Your love touched so many. Precious one, I can’t wait to spend eternity with you. I praise God for the blessing of your friendship. I love you and will see you again soon.
These words seem even more relevant to me today:
We represent a generation of heroes
We fight a dragon with a bow but no arrows
Will the dragon defeat us or will we escape it
The outcome is less in our hands than fate is
They call me survivor, warrior, fighter;
Finisher, overcomer. they even call me winner.
But what about those that “lose” their fight?
The cancer takes hold and they slip into the night.
Should they have fought harder?
Maybe they should have bartered
Their lives with the guarder
Of their souls, become a martyr.
We put hope in a goal beyond our control.
We fight with all our might an invader we can’t blight.
Though we may strive to thrive,
We’re in a sky dive
Until we fatefully arrive.
No one gets out of here alive.
But, One broke the hold death had upon our soul.
He gave until the grave, our way He paved.
With love like a wave, my heart He engraved.
Darkness turned to light and death into life.
Hope cuts through strife like a knife bringing life like a midwife.
My name I hear as he calls across the waters.
“Here, find rest. Come to me, my daughter.
The way is tough and the journey long.
But, I am with you all the night long.”
So, let it be known to every sister and brother.
That we bravely put one foot in front of the other,
And leaned into sorrow and joy together.
For cancer, like this world, is not my definer.
Call me sojourner, learner, traveler, adventurer.
Call me foreigner or even a long distance runner.
For life is not survivable but only is travelable.
And cancer not just a fight but a journey into light.
For the joy set before us, let us join this chorus,
Until home we arrive. That is where I strive.
Enjoy your homecoming, sweet one.