It’s graduation time once again, a bittersweet season for me. While Im so excited for these Seniors to embark on their new adventures as high school graduates, I always get sad to have to say good-bye. Yesterday, I was at a graduation of a private Christian school in town. The service was very sweet and in the middle of it, a women gave “Message to the Graduates”. I knew this women, she was a small group leader in our high school ministry for a few years. I dont know her well, but I did know she used to have cancer. In her message to the graduates, she shared how after her last scan, 5 years post treatment, there was no sigh of cancer. She felt this weight even though you’d think she’d be light with the news of yet another clear scan. Her weight was that she heard so many stories of others who didn’t have clear scans. As she shared this story, I held back my emotions.

Just this past Wednesday I was talking to a parent after youth group. His wife died three years ago of breast cancer. She left behind two teenage daughters, both who I knew from youth group. As he talked to kept telling me how proud of me he was and how much my hair had grown, I couldn’t help but feel guilt. Guilt that my treatment worked and hers didn’t. That Jason and I went through hell but at least I made it through. He and his girls had to go through the hell of cancer treatment and still loose their wife and mom. I wanted anything to not be in that conversation, not because of him or not wanting to hear his story. No, Im all about hearing people’s story, but I just simply didnt know what to do with this feeling of guilt.

Back to the graduation service – I was on the edge of my seat as she share about feeling guilt after a clear scan. She went on to say that her ongologist told her something that has stuck with her since she asked her question of this weight she carried around and didn’t know what to do with. He told her that her story was grace. I sat in my seat, trying to process this. Grace. I know grace. And as she went on to tell the graduates how much of what they have been given is because of grace I sat there thinking. I was given grace, that is why I am still here. Thats why the treatment worked for me. But I couldn’t help but not be completely comforted by this. I got grace, but those who died from cancer, didn’t? I know thats completely simplistic and not at all what the speaker was saying, but I sit here now feeling more guilty. Why did I get grace and others don’t?

Talking to a friend (also an elder at my church) who was in the crowd at the graduation, he asked me if her message hit home. I told him it really did, espically this week because the concept of guilt is a new struggle Im having post treatment. That I didn’t know what to do with this feeling, that because Im healed, I was given grace. I even asked him “So does that mean other people who die from cancer didn’t receive grace?” I love that he didn’t try and give me an answer. He responded with his feelings, that he felt guilt that his family has never had to walk through cancer, so he can relate to my feeling. While of course I wish he had an answer to my whys, Im thankful he shared his feelings instead of giving me platitudes. Often times in the church we given each other bible verses or truth, reminding each other of the goodness of God. Which is well intended most of the time, but its not that I don’t believe God did in fact give me grace. I completely agree that its because of grace I am here today. That, however, doesn’t make it any easier to the question of “Why me and not someone else?” So while God is good and He is sovereign and His ways are not our ways, doesn’t make it easier. When we give those easy, happy answers, it feels like we push a side the feelings we have because we should find joy in what God has done. I think we often forget that God created us with human emotions. And that it is okay to feel guilt while holding onto God’s promises. And maybe, just maybe, this side of heaven we are simply not going to have an answer to our whys. Which is madding of course, but I wish I had more conversations like the one I had today. Where we sit with one another, in our feelings, as uncomfortable as they may be.

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Love this. Love you.

Thank you for sharing your heart, your struggles.

Grateful for you.

May 27, 2014 11:42 pm

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