Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Cancer Center Chapel 'Revelation' -by Joe

Last week, I was really getting nervous as they started Heidi's second chemotherapy drug in Seattle Cancer Care Alliance's chemo rooms.  Heidi encouraged me to go down to the Center's chapel so I did..

As I sat in the chapel trying to shut up my noisy thoughts and simply be in God's Presence, a remarkable thing happened.  Back in 1981, I foolishly climbed one of Colorado's 14,000+ mountains called Little Bear Peak in the Sangre de Cristo range.  'Foolish' because I was untrained, doing it alone and without a helmet, rope or any way to call for help if I fell.

In the chapel, the vivid memory flooded back of making it up Little Bear Peak's deadly gully called the 'Hourglass' and once I finished that stretch, I was terrified at the prospect of going back down.  Now up until then, I had established a tradition on the previous (& easier) 14er peaks in Colorado of celebrating communion and praying for at least an hour when weather permitted, on each summit.

Looking down that Hourglass chute, convinced I would die on descent, I was faced with a choice.  Should I spend the time on top or immediately take my chances descending?  I chose the summit view/communion. To this day I believe that choice saved my life.  The descent was hair-raising, still no other climbers on the peak to ask for help.  I did slip several times on the steep, slippery slabs of stone.  But I sang all the way down.

The lesson:  we will ALL face deadly danger in our lives, whether from disease, violence, despair, etc.  But the choice is always there.  Will we spend available time with God or ignore Him and desperately obsess over the danger?

Cancer is Heidi & my danger these days; but since that day in the chapel, I am constantly reminded of a welcome place of peace I can find on an inner mountain summit, whether either of us prematurely die on the 'descent' or not.

As always, thanks for your support! - Joe


  1. "Slippery slope" is a good way to describe our walk with cancer. You are correct in stating that we all face deadly danger. It's just that most people don't realize it...until something like cancer happens. Death is our enemy.

    We are a two-cancer household as well. And our faith in the work of Christ on our behalf gives us much peace and comfort. In Christ death is vanquished.

  2. Thank you WhiteStone! - I am very sorry you are both dealing with cancer.