I have a friend who has cancer. He has a brain tumour, and it was removed but has been growing back again. He is in the midst of all the potential cures: radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, dietary changes, and prayer, lots of prayer. People across the country are praying for – oh let’s call him Adam to protect his privacy. I have had other friends with brain tumours. Some have been successfully treated and are living healthy lives to the fullest. Other friends went through all the medical processes and still the cancer grew, the medical therapies did good and did harm, and in the end the damages could not be reversed, and the rest of the body shut down and they drifted into the great beyond. I do not yet know the outcome for Adam. I continue to pray that he will be healed by supernatural or natural means, or both.

Many years ago, a friend of mine died from complications related to his multiple myeloma, a different but equally brutal cancer. As the days of his departure from this world crept upon him, there were signs that this was the last chapter. He began to dream of all the things he had yet to do in life. He had plans to write a book and he was busy doing the research. It was work that most of us knew would never be finished. He began to have long chats with people in his backyard; but these were people that none of the rest of us could see. It was as if the space between heaven and earth was shrinking for Jason, and perhaps if we had looked and listened closely, the veil between the two might have also become a little more transparent for us. We just found it intriguing and a bit amusing.

Perhaps God was preparing Jason for the rarified air of the next life and was training him in the art of breathing that heavenly air. Authors and spiritual thinkers often speak of such things. C.S. Lewis had multiple metaphors for this. In his work, The Great Divorce,[1] about a journey from earth to heaven, Lewis imagined the grass of heaven to be much harder, sharper, and more real, than the grass of earth. Visitors to heaven had to toughen up their feet before they were able to walk upon it. Lewis also spoke of how humans are both physical and spiritual and that just as an amphibian such as a frog starts out in the environment of a pond and ends up living on land, our lives must adapt, and our lungs must grow from these physical ones into spiritual lungs fit for heaven.[2]

As I said, I know not yet the outcome of Adam’s journey, but I know of his commitment to the spiritual life. I know that he is a follower of Jesus and has the hope of eternal life beyond this one. Every one of us must be prepared for the journey from this life to the one beyond and whether our time here is short or long, we all need to prepare our lungs and the soles of our feet. Adam, I wish for you, strong lungs, and tough feet.

[1] Lewis, C.S. The Great Divorce. HarperOne, 2015.

[2] Lewis, C.S. The Screwtape Letters. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc, 1980, p. 38, 39.

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