I have written about my personal journey before, but being back in St. Charles this week brought back the memories a bit more vividly. It was on July 17, 1986 when I was diagnosed with cancer the first time. I spent 52 days in the hospital over the course of a four month period. St. Joseph Health Center looks out over the Missouri River, and many times I stood in one of the lounge areas of the hospital and watched the river flow. I was angry at even the river. It seemed like a replica of my life because it was flowing right on by and there was nothing I could do about it. The frustration of such a predicament was beyond my understanding and the bitterness within me continued to grow. It got to the point where I watched people walking on the sidewalks below and resented them for being healthy. I could not believe this was happening to me.
I had no idea back then where the road would lead. I wasn't even sure I would survive the cancer--or the harsh chemotherapy treatments. It was a lesson in perseverance, but more importantly, it was a lesson in trust. The setbacks, the infections, the loss of a paycheck, the loss of independence, the loss of dignity, and so much more bombarded my mind. I probably wouldn't have been ready to hear the question at that time, but 17 years later when the question came, I needed it then too. "Are you still praising God?" Life is not always easy, but it is blessed.
Today, I celebrate 28 years of survival since the first diagnosis of cancer. It was an expedition I didn't choose, but it resulted in quite an adventure. This week when I looked at the statue of Lewis and Clark in Frontier Park, I had a deeper appreciation of their courage. How do you stand at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and embark on an unknown journey? Sometimes, we step out in faith. Let the glory of God shine forth!