We just received word that our dear friend Vicki Curtis has been diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. Vicki’s husband Joe and I have been best buddies since we were in fourth grade nearly 50 years ago. I performed Joe and Vicki’s wedding and we were near neighbors for 10 years when our children were born and into elementary school. Joe is a pastor of Seven Mile Post Road Church in Limestone County, Ala., my place of origin, where he and Vicki are known and loved for their Christian witness, godly enthusiasm and good works.
Vicki and I visited by phone this weekend and discussed life, death and our reactions in face of such news as she has been given. She is in denial at this point, as I was with my own recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. Today she looks and feels very healthy. How can it be possible that within a few days she will undergo radical surgery, followed by radiation and chemotherapy?
“Why me?” she asks herself. I told her I had asked the same question about my lesser illnesses. “But why not me?” she quickly added, listing names of four other mutual friends who were stricken with cancer long before they reached old age. We will all die of something, we reflected, and many people survive cancer these days. Vicki told me that she is not afraid of dying but that she doesn’t want to leave her family and loved ones or to cause them sorrow. I encouraged her to be honest with her feelings, not to think she had to keep up a cheerful front, and to know that it is okay to be angry at God if need be since he is quite able to handle it. That is part of faith also, so long as we take the matter to him quite honestly and leave it in his hands.
Vicki asked me to invite gracEmail readers to pray for her and her family. Her battle is not only uniquely personal, it is also symbolic and typical of thousands of others who fight debilitating or life-threatening illnesses of all kinds. We are mortal people living in a fallen world. Every day of good health is an extraordinary blessing. When sickness or other calamity strikes, the question is not really “Why me?” — though we all will ask that — but “Why not me?” What makes us any different from anyone else? Knowing that, let us entrust ourselves to our faithful Creator. And let us be God’s instruments to comfort and encourage others who suffer. (Update: In July 2009, Vicki celebrated five years of living cancer-free.)