Friday, July 10, 2009

Cancer Wins? Not on Your Life!

A year ago, almost to the day. I got a call from my good friend Jeff telling me that the cancer was back... with a vengeance. It was bad - real bad, he said. We made a commitment to each other to walk that journey together; to do it honestly, transparently, and with a tenacious determination to learn from it.

One of the early lessons learned was to enjoy every moment God gives us. To breathe fresh air, enjoy creation, listen to music we loved, make our conversations count, and go fishing. You see, almost all of the important things in life can happen when you go fishing. When Jesus' disciples were at a loss for what to do after the cross, they went fishing. Here are a couple pics from one of our last outings.

The cancer was a reminder that our world is flawed, broken, wrong. Parents are not supposed to bury their children. Middle school kids are not supposed to watch their dad waste away from cancer. Young women are not supposed to be widows. Things are not okay... not "right". In our times together we inevitably came back to the topic of Hope. Hope, capital "H", isn't some kind of wishful thinking. This kind of Hope is one that understands, with certainty, that Jesus' resurrection from the grave was the beginning of our Creator God setting things right. Jesus was/is the "first fruits" of what will someday happen to we who follow Him.

Yesterday, Jeff's body succumbed to the nasty cancer. But, just like the grave that had no victory over Jesus, the cancer didn't win. It couldn't. Because Jeff was/is a part of what Jesus started, today, Jeff is more alive than he has ever been. Today, he is whole.

Sometimes when someone we love dies, we say we lost them. I'm reminded that "losing" something or someone implies that I don't know where they are. In my last coherent conversation with Jeff on Tuesday, we reaffirmed our love and appreciation for each other. When I left, we hugged and said "see you later". It wasn't "good-bye" and we both knew it.

I already miss Jeff a lot. But I'm also filled with a great HOPE. A certainty that one day I'll see him again. Things will all be made "right". And in that place of right-ness, that New Heaven - New Earth, I think we'll go fishing.


Dawn Denice said...

So beautifully said that I've come back to read this many times today. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Praying for you and for all who miss Jeff.

Love you,

Anonymous said...

Chris Tomlin's song, "I Will Rise" has this line: 'My faith will be my eyes." Jeff (and Gib) see no longer through a dark glass - but face to FACE. You are right, Dean, 'right-ness" - "whole-ness"
and yes, 'fishing-ness'. I wonder if Peter will join you guys?
Nancy Carlson

Anonymous said...

We played that song at my husbands memorial service, and every time I hear it I am reminded of God's faithfulness, His promise of hope. You know the Dreamworks image of the little boy sitting on the edge of the cresent moon fishing. Dale would say, 'that will be me when I get to heaven'. Perhaps your friend Jeff and Dale are fishing together.
My prayers ascend for Jeff's wife and children. Julia Valovich

Dean Christensen said...

Nancy & Julia - Somehow, although I'm a big Tomlin fan, I missed this song.


We'll be doing it on Saturday for Jeff's service. Thanks for the lead.