Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Accidental Latitude

A year and a half ago my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had surgery, and it was discovered that the cancer had spread to several lymph nodes. The prognosis was not good. We thought that she would be celebrating her next Christmas face to face with Jesus.

Now here we are, coming up on her second Christmas since then, and as far as they can tell she is cancer free.

Soon after surgery my grandma received some of the best cancer treatment possible, including some of the newest medications. In fact, studies are being done on her because when you factor in her age and prognosis, her life is nothing short of a miracle. (But really, is any life short of a miracle? )

Along with the medical professionals, family stepped in. My mom did some research, and created a daily "smoothie" for her which consists of every single immunity-boosting, cancer-fighting fruit and vegetable on planet Earth.  These physical factors, along with being completely surrounded in prayer, have healed my grandma.

We are humbled and so very very thankful that God has allowed us to spend more time with her here in this temporary home in these temporary bodies.

But today I realized how much I take this for granted.

Today I received a letter from my Compassion daughter, Ruth, in Uganda. She is 19 and lives in a very rural area. She has never been to a city. Her family's average income is $8...a year.

Ruth is a prayer warrior, and has been on her knees for my grandma. In the letter I recieved today she told me that breast cancer is prevalent in her community as well as the surrounding villages.

What she told me next was the most awakening.

When women in her village are diagnosed with breast cancer, "they cut off their breasts and pray."

She went on to tell me that for this very reason we must be prepared every day to go onto our heavenly home, because there is nothing more we can do.

First, I must point out that in many ways she is right. We should be prepared for death at every moment. We are human, and God is God, and He can take us home whenever he wants, and no doctor can stop him.

But, God has given us a world full of potential cures and the intelligence to use them.

The only problem is that there are still so many who, simply because of their location or income, cannot access these wonders.

At times it feels as though the gap is closing. But then I realize that there are those of us who live in a country where, even if you don't have a penny to your name, you can benefit from most modern and life saving discoveries. And at the very same time, in the very same world, people are dying of diarrhea.

There are people in our world who take rocket ships to space and walk on the moon, and in the very same world people walk for days in order to reach the most basic medical care.

I have now walked through cancer with my stepmom and both of my grandmas. Two out of three of them conquered the disease, but all three of them were given the chance.

A chance that millions of people around the world are still not given, even today.

It's just another thing that breaks my heart, and another thing that I cannot fix.

But I can help. We can help.

In 2009 my Compassion daughter, Dilsly, had surgery to remove a lump in her breast. Her mother died of breast cancer when she was not much older than Dilsly, so immediate action was taken thanks to regular exams. None of this would have been possible if Dilsly was not part of Compassion's program. Dilsly could easily have been one of the many who are so close, but are unable to cross the barrier of poverty to receive medical care.

But thanks to Compassion, her medical needs are taken care of.

Thanks to Compassion, and other organizations like them, we are given the opportunity to help.

So, thank you, Compassion, for giving children a chance. Thank you for giving us a chance to stand in the gap.

And thank you, Father, that I live in a place where I can access a doctor and medication for something as simple as a cold. Thank you for creating us with the knowledge to create life saving medication. And thank you that I will get to celebrate yet another Christmas with my grandma. May I take not a moment of this for granted.

"We can be the generation that no longer accepts that an accident of latitude determines whether a child lives or dies. But will we be that generation?" -Bono

God Bless,


Cathrine said...

Thank you for making me so aware of the world around me, especially on the days when I feel like it's all about me.

Jennifer said...

I love compassion! Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart. Really, Rebecca, you challenge me with your love for others!

Jill Foley said...

Wow - what an amazing story all the way around. Thank you for sharing this.

Gayle said...

Great insight and good for me to chew on.

JD said...

Beautiful and powerful, Rebecca, your heart and mine understand each other all too well. I did not remember that Dilsy had such surgery in 2009, so thankful for the holistic support that Compassion provides these precious children who would otherwise fall through the cracks.

Horrified at how Ruth's community is left to deal with breast cancer -- to be a young girl growing up witnessing this must be mind-blowing. I can't begin to imagine...

That quote of Bono's is one of my top ten fav quotes ever. It's an unforgettable perspective.

Anonymous said...

I have no words. This post is so inspiring and challenging. Thank you for sharing your heart and for advocating for children in poverty!