I am blessed.
I have a tremendously supportive wife.
I have a family who bolsters my courage and cheers me in my fight against cancer.
I have an amazingly supportive loving fellowship with my family at Oakhaven Church.

I am, however, all too human.

At my most recent visit with my oncologist at Mayo Clinic, I was reminded that I am a cancer patient. Inasmuch as there is no reason  to be pessimistic about my recovery, I am still at risk.  Melanoma is vicious, it is sneaky and it is covert.

This consultation left me in a temporary darkness.

For the last few days I have had moments when my illness has sought to define me.

My real self has gotten lost in the description, “cancer patient”.

I conferred with Deb before posting what follows. I don’t want anyone to think I am about to throw myself off a bridge.   It is……with a nod to Jimmy Stewart, but by the grace of God, “a wonderful life”  I live…… and I rejoice in this.

I share this because I know many of you will identify with these words. You are not alone. None of us are superwomen or supermen.

We are made in God’s image but even the best have sometimes wished there was another cup from which to drink.

Gary Cleveland 11-8-11 “Nothingness”

I’m a nobody floating around in nothingness
and there is nothing on the horizon.
I’m sure I used to be somebody….
my navel reminds me I used to be connected somehow,
somewhere, to someone.
But today I am floating. Drifting to the ceiling and back to the floor.
Adrift, awaiting a breeze to blow me in some direction where perhaps there exists bright and warm.
I yearn out loud for a clue to my identity, I plead in silence for a pathfinder.
who am I? from where did I come? where is it I am supposed to be going?
Eyes strained, I squint to make sure I haven’t missed something,
but still there is a void out there,
and in here,
where it hurts.
I’m blind on a day when I just know there is beauty to be seen,
and I long for a glimmer of something yellow or orange like sunlight.
In a mirror, I gaze and no reflection….. just the vagueness of blur and shadow.
But something in me urges, “keep looking” “keep listening”
“You’ve got to climb on top of something bigger than yourself and then you will see.”
“So, I am somebody after all”,  I say.
“I’m a searcher, a seeker and a yearner”.
To hurt and ache is to be somebody.
I hurt, therefore, I am.
I just need a higher place to stand.

Keep in mind that we are never as far away from hope as we think.  If you are hurting and in a dark place, talk to someone.  Get it out.  Don’t let the hurting get locked inside.  There are people within your reach who will clasp your hand, brush your tear and shoulder up to you.

Let’s climb up to that higher place together.  I’ll stand there with you and we’ll drink together from God’s good cup.

About Gary Cleveland

An old chunk of coal waiting to become a diamond some day. I spend the bulk of my time focused on spiritual development. I teach, preach and stand by the hurting and wounded. I believe our heavenly Father offers us daily opportunities to discover who we are and what we can yet become. I serve as a bringer of good news in and around the city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
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