We’re inching ever closer to the release of my 2nd book, Beyond Cancer’s Scars: Laying Claim to a Stronger Spirit. I say “we” because it has been a collective effort. No words, no stories are written in isolation. They may feel lonely at the time of their penning, but the truth is, our stories cannot be written without the benefit of one another. No one makes it into this world without the assistance of someone else. No one makes it through life without the influence of people.
God meant for us to live in community. We belong to one another. Accordingly, my story belongs to you and yours belongs to me. It’s how we grow; how we change; how we move forward and into a greater understanding about all of life. Oh sure . . . there are a few stories I could have done without (some authored by me, some written by others), but even in them—the skewed, chaotic, and unbalanced ones that foster similar responses in me—I grow. And I am grateful for it all, even when the story is painful. Especially then. Why? Because pain (when allowed) has a way of exponentially growing a heart that exceeds the normal route usually taken to get there. Not that we ask for it, but as pain arrives, we cede its reality to something greater, Someone greater, expecting that on the other side of our tears there will be more to the story than what currently wrecks the heart and stretches the soul.
Pain is a game changer in our lives. There’s no way around this reality. Some changes are good; some disastrous, but either way, pain alters the landscape of our hearts, minds, and souls. Courageous are those who are willing to allow pain to serve as a crucible for heaven’s increase rather than hell’s determined purposes.
So this is what I’ve done, how I’ve managed the torment of my last two years. I wrote my story while living it, believing that somewhere down the road, someone would need it as much as I have needed it. C.S. Lewis once said, “We read to know we are not alone.” If that’s true (and I really, really love his wisdom on this), then I’m inclined to believe that a person writes for the same reason . . . to know that he/she is not alone. The author writes; the reader reads. And when this happens, a community is formed.
Why did I write this book? Two reasons: for me; for you. I wrote it for us. In doing so, I’ve done it for God—the author of community. He wrote his story into mine a long time ago, and he promises to make mine count for all eternity, even when the story is painful. Especially then.
Over the next week or two, I’ll be delving further into the “story” behind the story—the particulars of how Beyond Cancer’s Scars came into being. I’ve been pretty quiet about it all—a silence provoked by need, a silence requested of me by God. But it’s time to move forward . . . to put some words forth so that you might be able to find a few lines of your story written somewhere in between the ones I’ve penned about mine. The ground beneath my feet and my heart has been tilled, and new sprouts are headed to the surface. It’s time to make ready for harvest.
There is life beyond cancer, friends. There is a stronger spirit that lies on the other side of suffering. Beyond Cancer’s Scars is part of my journey to get there. I hope you’ll join me on the road of discovery. As always…
Peace for the Journey,
In my next post, I’ll talk about the unconventional process of writing “Beyond Cancer’s Scars.” It really was a God-thing!