“… Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me." -- John 18:11
On a warm Saturday morning July 15, standing before family and friends on the grounds of Saint Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, I had the privilege of giving a eulogy for my late grandmother, Margaret Horan (Scripps). During the closing devotion of the ceremony, I prayed:
“Father, we are at the mercy to Your mysteries beyond this life and your providence. As your children, we want so much to say, “Not my will, but Thine be done,” but at times we find this too difficult to bare. May the passing of our beloved remind us that we, too, are but pilgrims and strangers on earth. Grant us the grace to love less and less the things that are material and temporal, and to love more and more the things that are spiritual and eternal.”
This morning, I am finding it difficult to accept His words, “Thine will be done.”
I prefer my own will instead. My own choices...my own dreams...my own desires...my own hopes. I want to determine how long to work and when to retire. And foolishly, I think how long I'll live. And how to spend those remaining years of my life. This would be my final will: to enjoy my time with loved ones and good friends; resting leisurely, and choosing whatever joys that life can offer. I'd like to think that I am the captain of my own ship; a vessel that determines his own lot and own choosing. Whatever I may think about my life — these are the thoughts of a foolish man (James 4:13-17).
Since my first diagnosis with cancer in 2013, I find myself still learning how to accept, fight, and see the life-giving lessons brought about by this disease. What’s more, I’m finally accepting that this is my cup — a suffering lot and fate. It is truly a life’s walk with cancer.
In the coming weeks, I hope to make this my greatest fighting opus: to yield and live out “Thine will be done.” But not just for me. I pray and hope that God, by way of the saving grace of Yehoshua, will continue to shape me into a valuable, useful vessel. A vessel to reach those individuals who are unreachable; bounded and troubled by their own past afflictions and persecutions. To show them, through my words and writings, that despite that we have to equally share this human condition of life’s episodic moments of struggles, disappointments, sickness...and loss, we hold the fundamental freedom of choice in how we stand up and face life’s hardships and personal afflictions.
As for me, the recent spread of cancer inside me is my cup, given to me for His purpose, in suffering and salvation. But I hope that “I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20-21).
To those who have faithfully followed me, thank you.
[On Wednesday, July 20, 2017, I learned that my cancer aggressively metastasized to four areas in my body]