Why We Fight

It’s been a while since I posted any new status entries.  Life has been busy with good things.  Work is keeping me occupied, my oldest daughter left for a gap year/study year abroad and my younger daughter is in the all-important 11th grade, preparing for college entrance exams and deciding what her path will be after high school.  And I am thankfully here to enjoy it all.

People keep asking me “how is the book doing?”  I guess that’s a relative term, and the answer depends on one’s yardstick.  It has been picked up by additional cancer centers, can be found on the shelf at select Barnes & Nobles stores and just went through another printing, as the existing stocks have been bought up.  It will never be found on the New York Times best seller list, but that’s not really what it was designed for.  So when people ask me how it’s doing, I tell them that the book is doing what the book is supposed to do; getting into the hands of patients who need it and care givers who can direct their patients to it.

The other day, my daughter was expressing to me her difficulty accepting the many bad things that happen to good people?  “Is it fair …” was the focus of her questions.  “Is it fair that you got cancer, Abba?” she asked.  Coming to grips with why bad things happen to good people is one of the basic challenges to a life lived in faith.

There are some book-related stories that have been related to me recently, though, that brought home to me the realization of why.  Not long ago, a friend who herself is fighting her way through a cancer ordeal related how she gave the book to someone else going through a similar situation.  He related back how he carries my book wherever he goes, and refers to it when he is feeling down, scared, frustrated, etc.  The other day, a doctor friend of mine who referred one of his patients who is battling cancer to the book let me know that she got back to him and told him how everything she had been feeling was expressed in my words, and how she wishes she had my book when she was initially diagnosed.

So I related these stories to my daughter, and I asked her, “How many hundreds of people have been helped through their difficult times because I had cancer and was able to translate my experiences, thoughts, research and beliefs into a book for them?”  In the famous HBO mini-series Band of Brothers, one of the episodes is entitled Why We Fight.  It details the liberation of a concentration camp by the members of EZ Company.  These men had been through so much, fighting through numerous campaigns, losing their friends and comrades in arms, and longed only for the war to end so they could go home and live out the rest of their lives in peace.  But, without exception, the ones who participated in that liberation knew that their sacrifices, and those of their friends, had a great purpose – to preserve the lives and dignity of others.

Why do bad things happen?  To me, the answer lies in what we do with the bad things that happen, and how we transform them into something we can use to strengthen ourselves and help others along the way.  That’s why we strive.  That’s why we live.  That’s why we refuse to be cowed or defeated.  That’s why we fight.

In healing,


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