“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” -Hebrews 11:1
For a long time, I thought the best three words in the English language were “I love you.” Those words still get the best three words prize, but I have a new favorite phrase that’s four words.
At 45, I hadn’t thought much about my mortality until my diagnosis of breast cancer last year. But all of a sudden, it was clear that good health and a long life were not something for me to take for granted. I needed to appreciate life and say and do what I felt called to say and do now. This hasn’t changed too much in my life priorities, but there is one way life is different for me since I fully realized it’s a temporary stay on this earth.
The biggest change for me is that I pay attention to the nudges I feel from God more often. To me a divine nudge feels like an idea that I get that seems a little out of the box. When I try to shake it off, the idea comes back more urgently. Kind of like a cat that keeps rubbing up against your leg even though you shake your foot at it. Now when I feel that nudge, I answer it the second or third time I feel it, instead of ignoring it. It seems like I’m around for a purpose, so if there is a little holy errand for today, I should run it.
So at my annual checkup with my medical oncologist, I was sitting in the waiting room, feeling all the feels, when I noticed a couple in their mid-50’s. They were holding hands tightly, leaning towards each other like two castaways on a small boat in a very big ocean. Then I felt the cat, purring against my leg. “I don’t want to violate their privacy, Lord,” I argued, and flicked my foot. Then the cat came back. And I said “Okay” quicker than I once would have. I started the conversation, “I’m one year out of my treatments,” I said. “Just want you to know that things get better from where you are right now.” “It’s our first time,” the man admitted. “I remember how scared I was,” I said. “It is terrifying,” the woman replied. We chatted about doctors and long wait times, and I said I would be praying for them. Then I was called for my turn with the doctor. “Thank you for the hope,” they said.
After my doctor’s visit I got to hear my new favorite phrase, all four words of it. The sweetest words to my ear are those my medical oncologist gave me: “See you next year.” See. You. Next. Year. Hallelujah! Another year to live life for God, loving people, enjoying blessing upon blessing, and passing those blessings on.
As I left I noticed my new friends were still in the waiting room. They looked up at me and waved. So I passed on the hope I’d received: “It was great to meet you,” I said. “See you next year!” Then they smiled.