“I’ve felt alone since I got cancer.”
“I gave up competing when I got cancer.”
When new cancer friends I met in Hamamatsu said so, I was not quite sure what they really meant. Yet, staying here for a week, I understood what they were talking about.
Compared with the U.S., the roads in Japan are narrow and have a few lanes. Just like that, Japanese have few choices available for the way of life. If you get off the main path, it is really difficult to find friends. As important issues are always the same wherever you go, if you are no longer related to them because of cancer, it is very reasonable to feel like a loser.
The path for wealth vs. the path for love
When I got on a train after 9pm, I saw lots of kids carrying English books in their hands. They were probably on the way home from jyuku, private cramming schools. Japanese kids are busy all day long studying to pass the difficult exams of the elite universities. If they have to study so much, it is easy to imagine that they don’t have time for chores, volunteering, or work.
The average of Japanese’s family savings is the top in the world, but Japanese grownups keep working long hours worrying about their future.
While Proverb10:15 says, “The wealth of the rich is their fortress; the poverty of the poor is their destruction”, the blessing I have received is that though I am off from the main path which pursue the fortress, I have a family, church, and friends whose goals are “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,”and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”(Matthew 22:39)
This path where God’s word comes first may not be popular, but I don’t have to worry about being a loser on this path even if death gets closer： My heart is always filled with thanks, hope will never die, I feel I am loved, and I have the place to leave my burden and fear. Because I have people who pray, support and care for me, I can walk wearing a pink ribbon necklace, appealing I am fighting against breast cancer, without being shamed.
My new cancer friends and I agreed that since we got cancer, it was clear for us what was important and what was not in our life. The more important things than wealth are the relationships with a spouse, family, friends, and God. God who promised never to forsake us is reaching out his hand and waiting for us to grab it.
Even If we feel lost, defeated, or hopeless, if we are with our Lord we don’t have to be afraid. Even if our body deteriorates, our spirits won’t be defeated. We don’t have to fight all by ourselves!
If we walk this path with God, investing in His love, I believe we can say, “I had a good life,” at the end.