Thoughts and prayers

Posts: 1
10 months ago
April 27, 2018

In an online forum I belong to, someone asked this question:  What to call people who have or have had <bodypart> cancer?

Hiram wrote:   

What about “A victorious soldier of <bodypart> cancer”? Goliath is <bodypart> cancer and I am David. Maybe we are Davids, since we beat <bodypart> cancer.


I replied:

I remind you that some of us know already that we won’t be victorious. And our struggles, and our legacies, are just as important as the Davids who will vanquish their Goliaths.

Many of us are not warriors; instead, we have billeted the enemy and are coping with a permanent occupation.



If you think you will not be victorious, then you won’t. But God can make you victorious through prayer, and I have said a prayer for you to be a David and for your surgery to be successful.



I think perhaps you don't understand.

I have no <bodypart>. There is no longer anything to remove. My situation is quite typical for most people with advanced Stage IV <bodypart> cancer. The disease is systemic, and no local treatment will bring about permanent remission. Why? Because cancerous cells have colonized many distant parts of my body.

Furthermore, I don't mean to give offense, but I completely reject positive-thinking or prayer as a remedy for an unpleasant physical reality. I consider reliance on a belief-contrary-to-fact to be downright destructive, not helpful. However, both prayer and meditation and positive thinking can definitely be beneficial in helping a person to accept and cope with an unpleasant reality.

But it doesn't and cannot change physics.

Just as an amputee cannot undo their amputation by praying or by thinking themselves into a restored condition; just as an orphan cannot restore a dead parent by praying or by thinking themselves into being a non-orphan; just as a person in their 80s cannot restore their youth by praying or thinking themselves into being young; so it is with me.

It is possible, although unlikely in my case, that medical science will provide a treatment for my cancer before it kills me. It is certain that prayer alone will not.

When reality deals an ineluctably bad card, the recipe for success in life thereafter is to accept it and continue to play the worsened hand until the game is over.



I am sorry you feel like that. All I can do is pray for God to bless you and bring you peace.



Again, I respectfully disagree that that is “all you can do.” I think people can do a lot more for each other than pray and send good thoughts.

As I see it, the way to provide solace and support is to genuinely connect, so that we can understand what is actually needed and appropriate, which may differ surprisingly from what we imagine when we treat a person as an other and are not genuinely connected.

As I see it, lovingkindness means looking for a bridge across the gap that separates differing world views.


Posts: 2
United States
10 months ago
April 27, 2018

Problems with the website: webhost[at]

Copyright © 2019 - , All rights reserved.