"For Christians, an essentially hopeful outlook shows people that you believe in the Resurrection, in the power of life over death and in the power love over hatred."
"All will be well, and all will be well and all manner of things will be well." Blessed Julian of Norwich."
Both of these quotes said something important to me this week as I read the blog of a younger cousin of mine who is battling cancer, an ugly very invasive type. I don't think I have ever met a more happy, upbeat person than my cousin, Jim. His attitude about having to battle cancer after years of struggling with Multiple Sclerosis has been so upbeat and giving. He is giving to all of his family, his friends and all those concerned about him. His blog is one of strength, hope and never given to despair and it amazes me how well he is doing through all this. He would say it was the prayers of one of the most powerful prayer warrior families in this country! And I would have to agree we all come from 'praying stock'. Prayer has always been the binding element in our familial relationship. If you looked at my family, aunts, uncles, cousins and extended families, you would agree that everyone has a hopeful outlook: showing people we truly do believe in the Resurrection. And in Jim's blog you read that he really, truly believes in the Resurrection and is helping reassure the rest of us too.
Throughout our lives as Christians we encounter moments, people and situations where we come face to face with the reality of our humanness, our frailties, our faults, our strengths and weaknesses. We see in others the same things and realize we are all in this life to help each other. With that said, I encountered and older man yesterday who stunned me with his revelation that he didn't believe in turning the other cheek, that forgiveness wasn't happening in his book and if you were sinning all your life, things didn't change at the last moment."
I felt stunned at first, realizing he really meant what he was saying. He looked like he had a chip on his shoulder and it had been there for quite some time. I began praying really hard then, because what do you say when someone drops that in your lap? Not believe in turning the other cheek? Rats, for all the times I've screwed up and had to apologize in my life, how would be feel to know you weren't forgiven? I said some words about that was why Jesus died on the cross, to help all of us be forgiven and forgive. He thought about that for a moment and shrugged. I smiled and said something like, "that's why God is bigger than all of us, He can forgive things we have trouble with."
Feeling like I had failed, I encouraged him to come back another day to talk with Father. He said he might and went on his way.
I thought about the difference between him and my cousin; how Jim was dealing with cancer yet he was so sure about the Resurrection that he calmed the rest of us about his illness and how the man I met yesterday struggled to forgive. I prayed for both of them, hoping my prayers somehow help where my words didn't, cause though I'm a writer, I feel terribly inept at explaining my faith to others through words.
That is why we are here for each other, because sometimes even when you can't put things into words, you can pray. Prayer was holding up Jim and getting him through this battle for life with hope. I could only offer my prayers that somehow, the man I met yesterday would be able to get past his hurt, and forgive and be forgiven.
Pray that all will be well, and all will be well, and all manners of things will be well...