written December 28, 2010
The winter trees are mostly bare now, bereft of leaves. However, as I stand on the train platform across from the cancer center, waiting for my ride home, I notice a few stubborn leaves still clinging to the branches. They may be brown and wrinkled, but they will not let go.
I think of the people who enter the treatment center–some young and strong, others with canes or even wheelchairs, bent over and tired. For some, this is a brief way station, a little added insurance that the cancer won’t return. For others it is a last resort as their winter approaches.
I read a story once, long before I had cancer–When the Last Leaf Falls by Bill Myers–about a girl with cancer who was convinced she would die when the last leaf fell from the tree outside her window. I won’t give the story away, as it is a wonderful story you may wish to read. Suffice to say, a loving family member found a way to keep her hope going. I am reminded of that story as I watch the breeze tear at those few lingering leaves.
Hope is a precious thing. We cling to it like the last leaves on winter trees. According to an 18th Century writer, George Iles, “Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.” I like that idea. We reach out to God, even when we can’t see what is ahead of us. And in God we find the only true hope, a hope that can’t be swept away by the storms of life, that will carry us through those storms into eternity.
Update: I finished radiation on January 14th. I am thrilled to be done! I will be taking Tamoxifen for the next five years to stave off a recurrence. Life is getting back to normal…