Cancer patients are very fortunate. When cancer is detected, you get your visa to heaven. You know your days, weeks, months, years are numbered. You have to await the flight ticket. What a wonderful blessing! You have time to prepare for the big meeting with your God. You can quickly ask for forgiveness from all those you may have offended, forgive those who have hurt you, make a good confession and live each day as a blessing and a bonus, as though it were your last day on Earth. What an awesome spiritual experience to live in NOW THE PRESENT MOMENT! Live each moment KINGSIZE and celebrate life to the fullest!

Cancer is a mysterious gem. The flight ticket to the heavenly airport can come in a few days, a few weeks, and a few months or even after 25 to 30 years or more. Isn’t this extraordinary and nothing less than a miracle! A nun from our congregation had breast cancer when she was in her early twenties and lived up to the ripe age of 87. A cousin of mine was detected with breast cancer when she was 57 years old. She is 89 and still celebrating the gift of life.

Things just don’t happen by chance or coincidence. Everything in life has a purpose. Fr Tom Uzhunnalil SDB was kidnapped in Yemen and released after 18 months. God has surely given him a new lease on life for a definitive purpose and for the greater glory of God’s Kingdom here on earth. Oprah Winfrey once said, “No experience is wasted. Everything in life is happening to grow you up, to fill you up, and to help you to become more of who you were created to be.” How true!

Cancer can either be a gift or a blessing from God to help us to grow up, to fill us up, and to help us to become more of who we were created to be; or it can be the result of a series of human acts of commission or omission. Do I live a balanced lifestyle? Do I eat the right type and quantity of food? Do I sleep 7 or 8 hours every night to rejuvenate myself? Do I exercise appropriately, if I have a sedentary type of job or am glued to the television or computer, and relax enough to calm my drooping spirits? The human being is a marvellous composite of body, mind and spirit. All three have to be in sync to be healthy.

God allows pain and suffering and illnesses in our life to make us better and stronger persons. Only when we have experienced the hardships of life can we understand, feel for and reach out to others in similar or worse situations. We are refined like gold in the crucible of suffering and pain. God always blesses us with the right cross, one that fits our shoulders and one that we can carry. Besides, God assures us of His/Her constant help and care. To have His/Her careful attention, 24×7, knowing that He/She will carry us in His/Her arms when necessary is a huge privilege. Of course we have to do our part i.e. surrender totally to His/Her will joyfully, not grudgingly and allow God to be God in our life.

A little introspection will enable us to see concretely how the struggles in our lives have shaped us into the persons we are today. We honestly have to be thankful for the hard times in our lives, because they have only made us stronger, better and more spiritual human beings. We are all gifted with life comprising of body, mind and spirit. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Health, Healing and Happiness is part of this precious gift. Do we appreciate this God given gift with a grateful heart or do we wait till we have lost it? We need to not only protect this great treasure but preserve and protect our health too. Healthy Living demands that not only do we live a balanced life-style but that we also allow all God’s creatures to live in peace and harmony as we all belong to the same web of life, to the same planet Mother Earth.

In 2015, I wrote a paper entitled, “Digital Revolution: Silent Degraders of the Environment.” I was horrified to learn the effects of irresponsible dumping of e-waste and the radiation that emits from the many electronic gadgets we use and are dependent on for everyday living. There is no end to consumerism and the media blatantly succeeds in making us addicts to them. When our life-style is out of sync with the web of life and with nature, we are bound to invite trouble upon ourselves.

Do I wake up each day like the sun, aim high like the sky and freshen all around me like the wind? Do I accept that happiness and joy keep me happy, trials make me strong, sorrows make me more human, failures keep me humble and courage helps to keep going forward joyfully?

God never promised us a Rose Garden. He made a covenant with us that He/She will always be connected to us and will always help us. Life is made up of joys and sorrows. Problems make life real. Problems disturb, distract and divide us. But there are three solutions to every problem. We can accept it, change it or leave it.

Count your blessings each day and become a blessing, by hearing God’s voice and trusting and depending on God totally. Cancer like a biscuit dipped in tea is a huge spiritual opportunity. With the wrong attitude the opportunity is lost. But with the right attitude you can LIGHT UP YOUR OWN LIFE and BECOME A LIGHT FOR OHTERS TOO. Let us educate, enlighten and empower ourselves.

Dr (Sr) Mudita Menona Sodder RSCJ
Sophia College