"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me." (Psalm 23:4)
It is about a sojourner who was given a chance to see her entire life after many years on earth. As she traversed life’s path, she noticed two sets of footprints in the sand – one belonging to her and the other to the Lord. She felt troubled when she only saw one set of footprints during the “lowest and saddest times” of her life. She questioned the Lord why would He forsake her during the most challenging times she had to face. He softly said, “My precious child…when you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you during the fiercest trials of your life.”
I believe that I feel Him carrying me right now.
Even though the surgeries and biopsies are behind me, the left leg healing well, and there was no indication of cancer near the tonsillar region, my oncologist told me, “Alex, your Stage IV Melanoma cancer is incurable. The next treatment is only to keep it from progressing sooner than later.”
As I was sitting there listening to him, it finally started to hit me. But I wanted to be sure and asked, “To make sure I understand you right, this cancer will eventually take me.” He steered away from time frames, and cited some medical statistics, but basically his response was clear: “We can only try to keep it at bay for a while.”
So, there you have it.
The Ugly truth.
I thought I was done with all the shock. But no.
I thought it was beatable. But no.
So, now what?!
First, I will continue to fight on, no matter of what the outcome. If my fight is likened to the Battle of the Alamo, then this cancer is going to have to earn its keep.
Second, I will love my wife like never before. I want her to be able to say when I’m gone, “Alex was a great husband and friend to his family, friends and loved ones. He embodied and demonstrated the core principles of what makes a great family: he was committed…he constantly showed appreciation and affection…he always looked at the roses on the thorn bush, and not focusing on the thorns instead…he made sure to spend quality time with those he loved…he constantly endeavored to grow spiritually…and always maintained a Marine's fighting spirit, even if the odds were against him.”
Third, I am going to resume the work on my book: “Ishmael’s Cry”. I plan to argue that a young boy's relational, vocational and emotional development is crucially influenced by the words and actions of their paternal father. And in my research and writing, I hope this non-fiction book will serve as an adequate instrument of hope and encouragement for those men who still carry the scars, either emotional or physical (or unfortunately both), by their father's words and actions.
Finally, I know that God can give a miracle by healing me completely. But, I also know that He controls the outcome. He wants me to do my part and to fight this incurable disease; however, I cannot dictate the outcome. My comfort, however, is knowing He is always with me; carrying me along beaches shores, regardless when my body fails (Psalm 73:23-26).
I want to thank you for following me on this difficult journey. And especially to those who leave heartfelt comments on my blog postings. With your support, I will do my best to fight for my faith…family…and friends.
Now, I leave you with this poem…
FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."
- by Mary Stevenson