I am thinking about a few women that have blown the top off the can that holds all of the authenticity. Recently, I saw my friend Jen at the book store with her family. We left off in June where she was walking the high, narrow trapeze line of learning that she had cancer. When we left off in June, she was loved on and prayed for by our work-out group. The in-between was radiation and a long, hot Florida summer.
When I saw Jen in the store, I asked her how she was and how her summer was. I really didn’t know if she would give me a straight answer. It was her choice, after all; it isn’t always the right time or the best time to spit it out and lay it down. She told me briefly about the radiation and then said God is good. She went on to introduce me to her sweet-faced kids and her husband and then we all headed on our way. But, mostly I heard her say God is good.
Then there is SusieD. I left off with her in June. Although the details were not clear to me until mid-summer, she shared in an email there were melanoma cells found in a few places on her body. She spent the summer under the knife having it all removed and then waiting patiently for open sores to heal up. I saw SusieD for the first time about a month ago. She smiled and said that the finding of cancer was perfect timing. Any later and her story would not have been the same.
Yes, then there is Millie. Just a few weeks earlier, she found some lumps and had them removed. She was later diagnosed with cancer. Now Millie is well-known to be a spiritual giant – – if there is such a thing. But, if anything gives you a license to fall apart for a while, I propose that something is cancer.
Let me tell you about how Millie handles cancer. We all sit on the floor around her as she tells us there has been so much good that has come out of this diagnosis. She tells us that she is overwhelmed by the outpouring of her friends, her family and her husband. She tells us that the phone does not stop ringing, the food does not stop coming and her mailbox is full of love letters. She tells us that she was unexpectedly approved for health insurance and that God planned for that, too. Really, Millie, really? She tells us that she is praying for healing but accepts whatever road God has prepared for her. Really, Millie, really?
Yes, girls, really. The top of the can that holds authenticity has been blown off by these women. Let it flow out to touch each one of us. Let it break the pressure of our own cans. Let your own authenticity out so that you can walk a genuine journey holding the hand of your God and holding the hand of your friend.
I think about Christ on the cross and how He let it all out in public – blood, sweat, tears and brokenness before His Father and for all of time to see or read about. I think about His mom watching it all go down. I think about John and others who were also watching their beloved friend and brother suffer for their freedom. I think about you and I and our own suffering seasons in our life. While the pain is often deep, the wounds are, in part, for your brother’s freedom. But, your brother will never taste freedom unless you let your authenticity flow. Freely and openly, among friends. Pop the can – – it won’t be edible if you wait too long to share it. I love you, Jen and SusieD and Millie.