Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Have you ever felt like this?

Have you ever felt like this?

by Debra Tomaselli

The meeting room was packed. Maybe it was the time of year. Maybe because the topic was art. But for whatever reason, the cancer support group was crowded.  I took the last available seat.

The meeting began with short introductions. Then we were given paper, scissors, glue and magazine cutouts to make collages representing our lives.

Most people chose happy quotes or inspirational images, but Cathy, a newcomer to the group, chose pictures of angry men. She wanted to talk. 

“That’s what he looks like ever since I’ve had cancer,” Cathy said.  I missed whether it was a husband or a longtime live-in boyfriend, but clearly he was significant to her.

Compassion filled the room.

“It’ll be okay,” someone offered. “Be patient. It may just be the way he’s handling it.”

“He may not be angry, really,” another said. “It may be that he’s just sad.”

 But Cathy shook her head.

“You know how sometimes an added stressor like cancer can magnify underlying problems that have been there all along,” she said. Her lips quivered. Her eyes filled with tears. 

“If he doesn’t love you,” another attendee said, “you might be better off without him.”

Some agreed, offering strength. Others disagreed, suggesting she wait and see. She hung onto every word, her attention shifting from one suggestion to the next.

When the confusion settled, I spoke.

“No matter what happens,” I said, “remember this: God loves you. God loves you more than anyone on this earth ever could. Whether your guy stays or goes, God will always be there for you. You are never alone.”

“That’s right,” someone said. “God loves you. That’s the most important thing.”

A barrage of agreement followed.

Cathy smiled, comforted.  Then Betty spoke.

Betty, who had recently undergone surgery for cancer, had a sweet smile and curly white hair.

“God’s love is the most important thing,” she said. “I don’t know why, but I just really feel like God loves me. I’ve always felt that. I feel like I’m special to him.”

“Of course, God loves you,” someone said. “God loves all of us.”

“Yes, God loves everyone,” another added.   We all chimed in agreement.

Then, Betty spoke again.

“Yes, I know God loves all of us,” she said. “I know He loves everyone.” She smiled gently. “But I really feel like he loves me… I feel like I’m special… I just feel like God loves me.”

The humble man next to me nodded in agreement. “You’re right,” he said quietly. “You are.” 

Peace reigned as we pondered her words.

She’s right. God loves her. She is special to him.

But the good news is that God loves you…and you…and him…and her…and me…in just the same way. Each one of us is special to Him.

This Christmas…the gift I wish most for you is the recognition of God’s indescribable love for you. 

May it be the beginning of a beautiful love story… your beautiful love story…a life lived in return for the most wondrous gift given…

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