I found out recently that my friend Dora, who taught me everything I know about molecular biology while I was working on my doctorate, discovered during a routing mammogram that she had rather advanced breast cancer. She had, only a short time before that, married her longtime sweetheart -- finally, Pedro!
Another friend from the lab, Angela, who's been battling liver cancer for a decade now has had another setback in her recovery. Her resilient spirit amazes me.
My friend Jodi, whom I've actually never met, but have only corresponded with over the "internet tubes" and spoken with by phone, is struggling whether to accept hospice because her cancer has metastasized to various parts of her brain and other parts of her body.
Her husband (who goes to AA meetings) and 14-year-old daughter are having a very difficult time, complexified by the fact that Jodi's biological kin do not have a spiritual practice which would allow them to face powerlessness and unmanageability with equanimity and grace.
Please pray (or at least send good thoughts their way!) for all involved, if you'd be so kind. Illness is never easy, but it seems especially difficult during festive times when everyone else appears to be having a great time with family and friends.
Many of us over here (and deployed to other parts of the world) find ourselves painfully far away from those whom we care about. It's not a surprise for us or to us, but just as anticipatory grief can't hold a candle to (or really prepare us for) the real thing, the foreknowledge that we'll be half a world away from our loved ones isn't much preparation for the lived experience of separation in times of personal crisis.
I'm grateful yet again that my buddies who go to a lot of AA and Al-Anon meetings have taught me how they handle this kind of powerlessness: they 'surrender to win' as someone once wrote about in an earlier edition of their "Big Book."
As an aside, since our predecessors here left for home, I've not run into anybody here who goes to those meetings.
That's a new experience for me.
Blessings and peace to one and all,
Fr. Tim, SJ