Happily Whole

Living well from the inside out

Cancer. Culprit and Catalyst

February 25, 2014, written by katie
Just the start of working through the mess Cancer left


Seems like a perfect time and place to unmask the culprit, Cancer.

Cancer:  An uninvited, unwelcome visitor showing up unannounced, creating chaos (sometimes catastrophe) and leaving his messy remains for everyone else to repair. Cancer, a culprit of chaos.

For my family, he reared his ugly head in April 2010. He swiftly and devastatingly revealed himself, quickly multiplying his muscle, building himself up and tearing us down all in a matter of months.

Cancer. OUR culprit of chaos, devastation and family deterioration.

Cancer…a culprit of confusion in the wake of his coming. Sometime I’ll tell the stories of during and after, of how it all went down as my walls went up…it’s too much for now, but sometime perhaps. Any host of this unsavory guest, Cancer, whether patient, caregiver or caring friend knows what the wake of cancer feels like. It’s dusty, draining, blurry and bewildering.

While the fast pace of the world whirls around you, the wake of Cancer seems painstakingly slow. Outside life goes on as you walk through the mud and sludge of learning to live again…..sometimes without the love of the one lost to Cancer.

Sometimes without the love of the one lost to Cancer.

Without the love and life I lived with Kevin, my beloved best friend I lost to Cancer.

But wait. Somewhere between life standing still and an inability to fathom the future, Cancer’s wake also awakens. By introducing himself with chaos, confusion, devastation and even death, it’s easy to believe there's no recovering from the outcome of his stay.

But slowly and steadily as dust clears and disasters cleaned up, new clarity comes into view.  Without the culprit of cancer I may still lack this awakening kind of clarity. 

Yeah, stains of sadness remaim. Solitude accompanied by single-mom overwhlem send me into moments of sorrow. But, it’s funny how even the most unwelcome experiences invite new inspiration if you’re willing to host the hard party for a while....if you're up to catering to the lessons of whatever your life's chaos. 

You see, Cancer has also been a catalyst in my life. Catalysts, by their nature, move things along at a clip quicker than in their absence. They spur action on, they facilitate forward motion. Since my husband’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, I’ve experienced many catalysts, moving me along through chapters and to new seasons.

CANCER, for me, acts as a catalyst to take life and its lessons to heart more than I ever knew how. While Cancer severed many hopes and dreams, he’s also spurred me on towards new experiences and facilitated forward motion in many ways. Mostly in my faith.

I’ll say it again clearly: Cancer facilitated fast forward motion in my faith and that, alone, changes everything. FAITH changes everything from the lens to the life experience. 

The secret: Christ stepped in and used cancer to help me wake up and wear Cancer’s wake of chaos and confusion well. Yeah, I do think I’m wearing the wake of Cancer well. Not always confidently and certainly not carefree. Not all together smooth and slick either. No, it’s hard and heavy still and I sort of, well, spin out of control from time to time. But, what's abnormal about that?

It's life changing and load lifting when Christ steps in to conquer the chaos!

In my life, Cancer has been a catalyst used by CHRIST; Christ calling me to new ventures, renewed mindsets and revealing more purpose in my parenting….more purpose in my life.

I suppose it’s not really cancer acting as the catalyst. It’s Christ. Christ helped me conquer cancer. When I look to Him for a lifeline, He’s always already there waiting for me to grasp His hand to guide me through the mess Cancer made. 

Cancer: my culprit and my catalyst.

Maybe for you it’s not cancer. But perhaps some other source of chaos you can invite Christ to conquer.

Maybe it’s a sense of self defeat, paralyzing problems in parenting or a struggling relationship. Maybe it’s simply a sense of restlessness wreaking havoc in your heart. Let me lay this upon your weary heart and troubled mind: I wonder if whatever your confusion and chaos come from might also offer the clarity and catalyst you need.

I wonder if life’s devastations in some ways determine our destination; if hurts and hardships get right to the heart of things.  When you’re standing at a crossroads of emotional chaos, which way will you go? Will you look for the lifeline? I guarantee it’s already there waiting.

I guarantee Christ can conquer any kind of chaos. Even yours. 

Wearing the Wake of Cancer Well,



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