The Letter

A poem for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I looked into my doctor’s eyes
and saw concern he couldn’t hide.
The words he uttered stole my breath.
I feared I soon would dance with death.

“It’s cancer,” he explained quite grim.
“But don’t give up. Let’s fight to win.”
Tied up in knots, I thought the worst.
“I’m doomed,” I sighed. “My future’s cursed.
 It’s just my luck to die this way.”
My doubts refused to let me pray.
They robbed me of the my trust in God
convincing me my faith was flawed.
My fear of what tomorrow held
could not be eased, erased or quelled.

And then last week I got a note.
I wept at what a new friend wrote.

“I heard the C-word trumped your hand.
I know your fear. I understand.
Some years ago I, too, was ill.
I lost my faith, my hope and will.
Upset at God, I couldn’t pray.
My world was dark both night and day.

My treatments left me sick and sore,
a prisoner of a horrid war.
At times I wished that death would come
for after all my life seemed done.

But then one day out of the blue,
amazingly, somehow I knew
that God was really in control
of my sick body and my soul.
That He still had a plan for me,
that one day I’d be cancer-free.

From that day on, I looked ahead
and rendered all my doubts as dead.
I started living without fear
because I knew the Lord was near.
Unwrapping each day as a gift,
my view of life gave me a lift.

It also helped me start to hope
and day by day I learned to cope.
And then by God’s grace I got well.
The plight I’d known that felt like Hell
had disappeared. So too my fears.
Praise God, my MRIs were clear.

And so I’m writing you today
to say don’t fret if you can’t pray.
Let God surprise you as you face
the cancer that you now embrace.
You’ll find that He won’t let you go,
although today you’re feeling low.”

I held the letter in my hands
and whispered, “Yes, he understands.
Although our friendship’s rather new
he knows what I am going through.

He knows the nausea and the pain
and how exhaustion stakes its claim.
But even more, he knows that life
is more than what a surgeon’s knife
can surgically remove at best.
 He knows that when you face a test
the Lord Himself will lift you up
and help you sip from suffering’s cup.
Then when you’re weak, He’ll carry you
until this dreaded journey’s through.”

A simple letter from a friend
confirmed that cancer’s not the end.
The mailman didn’t have a clue
what he delivered helped renew
my faith in One who loves me so
and will not ever let me go.

That cherished letter gave me hope
to scale this slippery, scary slope.