Monday, August 02, 2010

Uncle Bob and Fighting Cancer

On Saturday, I took a trip to Washington DC with an old friend. Among the many topics we talked about as we drove were healthcare, the environment, and the increasing incidence of cancer in our world.

Last night, I was reading a book by Wendell Berry that included an essay that was called "The Unsettling of America" and it told the story of colonization in the United States. It started with the displacement of the Native American peoples for the sake of progress, and then told of another displacement for the sake of industry. Early agrarian settlers, and even current farmers are facing a fight to maintain a simpler way of life. All of the displacement is said to be done in the name of progress, but now in our generation, there is a fee associated with all of our basic needs--food, clothing, shelter, water, and air. Of course we don't have to buy air, but we pay a price for it in the way of pollution.

So what does this have to do with my uncle and cancer? Well, I have a pretty strong conviction that the reason why cancer is becoming increasingly prevalent because of the way we live. We eat and drink things that are not the best for us. We breathe air that is contaminated with mutagens and pollutants, and while our water is supposed to uphold certain standards, I've heard many around the globe complain about the strange taste of their tap water in recent years. Many of the choices we are making in the name of "progress" may be giving us short term successes but may also be contributing to our long term destruction through slowly poisoning our bodies and maybe even our inmost being.

And yesterday, I received a call from my dad. He told me that my Uncle Bob is in the University of Michigan medical center with stomach cancer. He has two to three months left on this earth. It seems like some form of cancer has latched hold of nearly every member of my family. My brother, my dad, and myself seem to be the only remaining ones who haven't had to get some form of cancer reduced or removed, or worse yet, have lost their lives to this ugly malaise.

My uncle Bob is a man of serious faith, and he has raised his family with the same deep faith. Right now, I want to ask you to stop reading for a minute, and if you would be willing, pray for my uncle and his family. I know that the the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working, and this could be one of the greatest acts of support you could demonstrate toward my uncle and his family.

My uncle Bob and his family have faithfully read this blog for many years, and although they have lived pretty far away for most of my life, this little outpost on the web has helped them stay connected with family events through the years. I don't know my uncle well, but I am really bothered by the challenges being imposed by aggressive inoperable cancer in his stomach right now. I know that his is not the only fight being fought right now against cancer, but there's something immediately disconcerting and alarming when we discover a loved one suffers.

May the Spirit of the living God heal, comfort, and guide my Uncle Bob, his wife, and his daughter, as they look to Him for those things and more.

And for the rest of us, may we all fight the good fight and finish the race well.

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