Yes I know a very morbid title for a post and yet as I sit here in the waiting room at the Lombardi Cancer Center it’s clearly written on the face of the gentleman behind me.
“I’m ready to give up,” were the words, painfully rasped out between gasps of physical pain. I listened as his wife said she’d get the doctor to get him into an exam room. Was the hope in doing so to receive some additional pain medication, or was it so his apparent agony would not disturb the rest of us? I got up from me seat with the pretense of throwing my empty coffee cup away, so I could see who had spoken.
He sat hunched over in a wheel chair, his right hand grasping the left side of his neck, his face grimacing in pain. His emaciated body was wrapped in a heavy blanket and a knit cap covered his bald head. He couldn’t have been much older than 60 but the cancer had added another 20 years to him. I’m sure he was near my height – or would have been if he could stand upright – but I doubt he weighed much more than 100lbs.
Sitting back down, I heard his wife leave to get a doctor, and I could hear him muttering for her not to go out of her way. I couldn’t help but place myself in his shoes…
I’m too weak to do anything for myself but I still have enough pride that I don’t want to burden my wife. Death would be a kindness at this point. No more pain, no more hospitals or doctors, and my wife… Dear Lord, let my wife get on with her life instead of wasting it on me. Let me go.
Would I be that man some day? Is my cancer going to win out and leave me but a husk? And what will I be if that day comes? Will I still have the “godly” character so many see me as having now, or will I be dragged down until I’ve given up in defeat?
I pray for that poor man and his wife. I pray they know Jesus. I pray His peace is on them both. I pray I’m half the man people think I am.