This week I had the chance to spend some time in a cancer treatment center. I got a dose of reality.
Before you start worrying, I am fine. I was an outsider today…accompanying someone else for this visit.
As I pulled into the parking lot I quickly observed people being helped out of cars and trucks…both old and new. Some folks were well dressed. Others looked like they hadn’t seen new clothes in a long time. Cancer didn’t care about their socio-economic status.
As I entered the building I saw a wall of wigs on those white Styrofoam head pieces. Four rows of wigs… all colors and styles. I quickly remembered the reason for the wigs as I looked around the waiting room. Many of the folks seated in the waiting room were wearing wigs. Chemotherapy takes a toll on the body.
The waiting room was crowded. As I looked for a place to sit, a man and his wife, both in their 80’s, slid over so I could sit next to them. He looked at me and smiled. I wondered about his life story and what he was facing. As I watched him, I noticed he was wearing shoes with Velcro closures. I looked at my shoes and remembered how careful I had been to pick out just the right ones. As you battle cancer, fashion takes a back seat to survival.
Name after name was called to follow the nurses to the treatment area. Some patients walked on their own, others needed help. Nobody complained, the nurses knew patients by their first name, life kept moving forward even though we all knew some folks in the room didn’t have much time left on this earth.
I was reminded what the bible says about life. In James 4:14 we are told, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
Knowing how quickly our lives will pass, I found myself thinking about my days on earth. Am I preoccupied with my job, gaining social status, increasing my portfolio, busy with things of little consequence?
Maybe I should be spending more time with my family…who are also like vapors. They will be gone before I know it. Maybe I should be better focused on spiritual issues and spending more time on things with an eternal significance. Maybe I should spend less time worrying about what others think of me and just think about and care for others.
Maybe we all should.