Serving a New Friend Suffering from Cancer
Several months ago, my wife Karen held a book signing at a local bookstore. One of the ladies in attendance, Judy, hit it off with Karen, and they spent about an hour and a half swapping stories and experiences. Over the course of the next several months, Judy followed Karen through Karen’s Inspired Art of Cooking website, regularly commenting on recipes and posts. She often sent Karen an email, sharing a wonderful experience of cooking Karen’s Chicken Parmesan recipe or downing a delicious Peanut Butter and Honey Roll-up from her cookbook.
Serving Someone in Need
As it turns out, Judy has cancer. She’s had it twice before, but it recently returned again. Well, when Karen sees a need, she kicks it into overdrive. Look out if you’re ever on her receiving end, you’ll be spoiled like a child on Christmas Day!
She planned a Thirty-One party to purchase a couple of beautiful bags she knew Judy wanted and filled them with healthy groceries and devotional materials. As we drove over to her house on Friday night to surprise Judy with the gifts, I wasn’t sure what to expect. When you hear the word “cancer,” sometimes you envision someone down on life, struggling to understand God’s plan, and overcome with sickness.
Instead, we were warmly greeted by a woman filled with life. The sparkle in her eyes was distinct. A warmth was present. Her humor fully intact. The joy within her was infectious, as she gave us big hugs like we were long lost friends.
A Label Does Not Define
Over the next ninety minutes, she shared many powerful stories and truths, but one stood out. “I will not be defined by this cancer.” She told the story of being first diagnosed and how cancer had robbed her of two years of her life, being consumed by worry and fear. It had overtaken her like a fierce gust of wind whipping off the Chesapeake Bay.
When the cancer returned this time, she started feeling sorry for herself again. However, she refused to stay in that lowly place for long. “I’m not going to let this mountain move me. With God, we can move this mountain.”
Judy went on to explain how each day was a gift from God. While she doesn’t know how much time remains here on earth, she’s grateful for each day. She even plans to redo her back patio. “Even if I only get to enjoy it for one day, it will have been worth it!”
Serving Leads to Greater Satisfaction
While we had gone to offer encouragement and meet some of her needs, we left inspired by her passion, humor, and zeal for God. Here is a woman who doesn’t know how much time she has left on this earth, but she is more alive than most healthy people I encounter.
As I reflected that night, I once again saw a simple truth in action: When you stop and help someone else going through a difficult time, your problems don’t look so big anymore. In fact, you receive much more in return.
We get so caught up in our earthly success, our needs, our desires, and our pain, but rarely do we pause long enough to serve God and those whom He has placed in our path.
You will never be completely satisfied until you put aside your own worries and help someone in the midst of their struggles.
Was there a time your put aside your needs to help someone else? What was the result?
CC Photo by Horse10735 on Flickr