By Sister Janis Yaekel, ASC
I am Sister Janis Yaekel, ASC and I have pancreatic cancer. In fact, I have lived with cancer since 2012. I hope to share in my blog my journey and my reflections on the presence of God in my life. It is my hope that those who read my entries will find strength for their own journeys.
December, the darkest month of the year, is upon us.
Oddly, it also may be the most cheerful month of the year as people prepare for and celebrate the holidays. The darkness is illuminated by the displays of colored lights in our cities and towns and even by the one strand of lights on the farm in rural America. The daylight is short-lived and filled with people going to work and shopping for presents. Parties are planned and carols are sung, even by those who can’t carry a tune.
Yet in all of this frenzy of activity, the darkness remains. It is the darkness of waiting.
Cancer patients understand waiting. Oh, maybe not at first, not right after receiving the diagnosis. At first, they are anxious for something to be done. They want to stop this vile disease from progressing, but learn that the medical machine moves slowly. First, they must undergo more tests and then chemo. If they receive radiation first, they are checked to make sure the radiation has gone to the right place. All of this takes time that cancer patients don’t think they have, but still they must wait.
Cancer patients learn to wait for test results that gauge whether treatments are working. They wait in doctors’ waiting rooms and on the phone seeking answers and advice. Some wait to get back into living again and some are waiting to die. I am one of the waiting.
Regardless of where we are on this medical journey, we all learn to wait. Sometimes we do it well, and sometimes not, but hopefully we learn that waiting moments can be filled growth and insight.
This year, in this December of darkness, the world is waiting for peace. In the Christian tradition, we say that we are waiting for the birth of Christ who will bring peace to the world, but Jews, Muslims, Hindus and atheists also are waiting for peace.
We are waiting for personal peace, that deep inner knowledge that we are ok. We are waiting for peace in our families and in our world, but that wait seems to be very dark. Answers to our problems are hard to come by and complicated at times and so peace is elusive. Perhaps, if we could only get in touch with the ache for peace that is in our neighbor’s heart, we could begin to see more clearly how to come to a peace that is lasting.
In the meantime, maybe we could just take some time to sit in the December darkness of our dilemmas and know that we do not sit alone, that God’s Spirit is within us slowly unfolding the peace for which we long.