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Cancer and Cynicism

Its easy to get cynical when you have cancer.

There are times when the all seems right with the world, but they are slowly and surely being crowded out by the times when the world seems to be completely falling apart. When I am on each round of chemo, I look into the mirror, and see a shadow of a person staring back at me. My eyes look heavy, dark rings framing each of them, my skin pale and blotchy, my hair thinning out. Hannah reports that when I’m on chemo, I have a certain smell about me, as the toxins no doubt leach out my pores, adding to the chemo aroma that envelopes me every two weeks.

It’s easy to get cynical when you have cancer….

Its easy to wish that life was not this way, to wish that some sense of normality could be returned to. Its easy to fall into despair, to feel sorry for yourself, its easy to forget that there is a bigger reason to live for. Its easy to hear about someone else’s problems and to belittle them in the light of dying with cancer. Dying of cancer is the ultimate trump card, the ultimate conversation stopper, the one line that is sure to bring an awkward silence to those who don’t know your story. There is even a sense of self satisfaction that no one has it as bad me; albeit a false sense.

The minute I start falling into this trap of cynism, which is easy to do, is the minute I stop looking at the bigger picture. The minute I start caring about my needs over that of others, is when the cloud of darkness sweeps in, and tries to wash you over with self doubt, self loathing, and self pity. Its a dangerous trap that we all fall into at one time or another. To become self-oreinted is to place your own priorities over others, to forget about those next to you, and to dwell on your own issues and make them bigger than your neighbours. This kind of thinking rarely makes us better people, it frequently drowns us in our own false sense of self importance, it makes us selfish, it makes us moody, and it blinds us to what is really going on in the world around us.

When I recognise the trap of cynicism setting into mind, I have to consciously dig myself out of its grasp. I have to pause…

I have to refocus…

I have to remember the plight of others, the injustice in this world, and how I might be a part of its solution…

You see, the minute I start thinking in a selfless manner, I am set free from the struggle of selfishness. Selfishness does nothing but destroy, whereas selflessness builds those around us up. Not only does it pay dividends to our neighbours, but it frees our own mind and our own soul.

I’m not pretending for a second that cancer is a walk in the park. It has its moments when all I wish was to live the life I had 18 months ago, before the diagnosis. But the reality is, the way I approach cancer is what makes it either a curse to live with, or a blessing in it’s own kind of way.

Cynasim and selfishness destroys the soul….

Selflessness and perspective builds it up….

Jesus once said ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, right after he told us to ‘Love your the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, all your strength and all your mind.’

Loving ourselves comes last on the list, cos if we love ourselves first, we slowly die inside. We waste away to a shadow of what we were meant to be.

Loving God first, and then others, builds us up to people that can achieve so much more than we could ever hope for…

Its counter-intuitive, but I can say in my own life, this principle holds true.

Thanks for listening.

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  1. julie Turner
    April 5, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Sorry you didn’t make it to Easter camp this year Jared, theme being “illumination”. Thanks’s for continuing to share your journey.

  2. Ruth
    April 5, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Sounds like a powerful Easter message to me.
    Blessed to be a blessing is easy. Suffering to be a blessing goes beyond words that I can find other that ‘Love is the greatest gift of all” Kia Kaha J. x x

  3. Debbie
    April 6, 2010 at 8:37 am

    wow, some real truths in there = what a great golden nugget…thanks for sharing!!

  4. JD
    April 6, 2010 at 11:24 am

    So true! Great insight! Thanks for sharing Jared.

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