Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Today Mark Hall, the lead singer from my favorite Christian group Casting Crowns, is undergoing surgery for cancer.

Also today I and one of my brothers will be accompanying my Dad to a cancer treatment center in order to glean information about the options of treatment for my Dad's recently diagnosed cancer.

I am finding it difficult to breathe.  Not in a true physical sense; nothing is wrong with my breathing.  But I have learned about myself that when things get stressful I forget to breathe.  I feel my body struggling; I want only to sleep; things hurt for no reason; that is when I remember that I need to take deep breaths.

I suspect if anyone had observed me yesterday in the examining room at the doctor's office with my Dad they would have thought I am a very cold person.  I cannot explain why I was unmoved by the news that my Dad's cancer is very aggressive and the recommendation that extreme measures be taken to hold it at bay.  Why I doled out tissues to my Dad and his friend but I didn't need any.  I watched my Dad's reaction, observed the look on his face which I've seen just once before (the moment his Mom passed from death to eternal life).  I observed his friend, a woman who has become valuable in our lives, struggling beneath the weight of the news that she is going to lose a man who has become valuable in her life.  I don't believe I was in shock.  This was not unexpected news for me.  I had read much about Dad's condition since first learning there was something wrong.  I knew the possibilities.

Yesterday, before getting the news, I prayed for Mark Hall.  I'm going to be honest here, and it will give people yet another reason to think I am cold.  I told God that, if it were possible, I would choose for my Dad to die rather than Mark Hall.  I don't think that makes me cold.  The fact is that Mark Hall is a relatively young man and I believe he has young children.  My Dad, at nearly 85, has already lived longer than many people.  His children are grown.  He has grandchildren and great grandchildren.   I want Mark Hall to have the opportunity to watch his children grow up, get married and give him grandchildren.

I've told people that I lost my Dad the day my Mom died.  The man I knew as my father disappeared.  Once in a while I saw a glimpse of him but, truly, the Dad I knew has never fully reappeared.  Which is not to say all has been gloom and doom.  I have shared many times of rich, full laughter with my Dad.  Even yesterday, after we returned from the doctor, there were times of laughing so hard I could barely breathe.  But I've had nearly five years of realizing my Dad was not really here anymore.

So why, now, am I struggling to breathe?