Saturday, November 12, 2011

remembering Robert

Cancer is an awful thing. It sucks the life out of a person and leaves nothing but pain behind . . . or does it?

Uncle Robert was told about 6 months ago that he would be the next victim of this deadly disease. He had only weeks to live without treatment. Chemo would hold the inevitable at bay for a precious handful of months. Those extra months gave us a chance to see him and to say 'goodbye for now.' It also gave him a chance to read, think, pray, and ask a lot of deep questions.

During our visit in July he had a lot on his mind. He wondered how long America could continue to be viable as a nation with such crippling debt. He wondered what the difference was between our spirits and our souls and what would happen to both of them. He was wrestling with the meaning of some difficult passages of scripture. At the end of our visit, he said he had a lot of other questions he would have loved to ask us if we had had more time together.

Theology becomes a lot more urgent when death is staring you in the face.

I'll always remember Uncle Robert for this. The questions we have and push to the back of our minds refuse to be quiet when Cancer is in the room. They clamour for our attention . . . and for the attention of all those who love us. Robert's legacy remains to be seen. Only time will tell what permanent mark he has made on all of us. But part of it will be his strong and steady response to the doctor on hearing his prognosis: "In our family, we believe that the life after this one is even better than this." His expression of faith at that moment is still having a ripple affect on the rest of us.

Thanks, Robert, for reminding us all that what we believe really does matter, even on this side of death.

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