HIS FACE IN MY JOURNEY
Walking with Others
“As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up – one on one side, one on the other – so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” Exodus 17:11, 12
I saw Mary in the oncology center on my first day of chemotherapy. She looked about my age, and I could tell it was her first time, too. I didn’t feel like approaching her then, but each time that I saw her after that, I felt more and more drawn to her. Before my last treatment, I decided to bring an extra CureChief and offer it to Mary. She came in late and it happened to be crowded, so she ended up in the back of the next room. It would be awkward for me to approach her. I was fighting a cold that day and soon fell into a coughing fit. The nurse scrambled to get me hot tea. Chemotherapy patients are neurotic about germs, so I was not surprised when the man next to me hightailed it out of there. When my coughing fit subsided, I saw Mary sitting next to me. I smiled to myself and imagined God whispering in my ear “Here, I’m going to make this easy for you…..” I offered Mary the CureChief which she happily received and within seconds we were chatting up a storm. We had been diagnosed within days of each other and had the same wonderful doctor. It wasn’t long before I mentioned Jesus and she shared her faith, too. I learned that her husband had been killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11 and she gave birth to her 3rd daughter, Grace, on 10/11. My heart broke. It was impossible to grasp that after all she had endured, she was now facing cancer. I was thankful to learn that God had graciously provided her with an amazing new husband who was now girded up by her side.
My friendship with Mary grew into a special and unique relationship. She was a gift to me, and I to her. Her friendship was comforting and faith building, and because of Mary, I was reassured that God was walking with me. Whenever I struggled, I knew that Mary understood, and we usually felt the same way. It was encouraging and inspiring to have Mary in my life, to support her, and be supported, too. We went out of our way to be there for each other.
When you are going through cancer it is absolutely essential to have other cancer patients and survivors alongside you. You must resist the temptation to isolate. Like Moses, when you are tired of the battle, there is no one more qualified and capable to join hands with you, energize you, and usher you to victory than those who are walking in it, too.
A few months after I finished chemotherapy, my family and I took a vacation to celebrate the end of cancer. We flew to an island in the Caribbean called Turks and Caicos. Most of my friends and family had never heard of this tiny set of islands, as it was not a commonly traveled place. As we passed through the lunch buffet one day, my mouth dropped to the floor. There was Mary and her family “coincidentally” vacationing on the same obscure island, in the exact same resort, at the same time! When we saw each other, we simply could not believe it! We knew that God had
planned it, but we didn’t know why. We celebrated together and were greatly blessed to watch the
5 children amongst us make memories of laughter and joy. We walked on the beach, sporting the same
sexy chemo-inspired hairstyle, preparing our hearts for the new life before us. The Lord finally spoke into
Mary's heart (John 8:47; John 10:4, 27) that He had brought us together – from chemotherapy to Turks and Caicos -
as a sign that we have come full circle… we were in this journey together … from beginning to END! AMEN!