Yesterday was a good day. I was up early, worked from home nearly 8 hours, ate lots of little high protein meals, felt like talking on the phone when the day was nearly over. I even took a five minute walk in the neighborhood. Yesterday, I almost forgot I had cancer.

Today, I woke up after a restless night’s sleep. My body ached, and my stomach seemed upset over all of yesterday’s protein. I received three minutes of a brand new batch of radioactive material, and when I came home with a fever, I learned that tomorrow, if my white blood count is low, it may be back to the hospital for me. Today, cancer was again a reality.

Having cancer has certainly brought a lot of clarity to my life. I feel a great burden to pray for others; I want to be surrounded by my friends and family; old grudges and past slights have just fallen away.

But some unexpected parts of my life have taken on new significance. I don’t dread work — even when I’m not feeling my best, I feel called to go to the computer and produce and create. I crave beauty and have enjoyed looking at photographs and catalogs. I also have the urge to paint and write, which will hopefully soon be matched with the energy to do so.

And something as silly as my neighborhood Christmas light contest became my deepest desire. I mentioned in passing this rather odd goal, and a friend recruited the youth group in my church to come and deck my house out with all the lights they can find this Saturday (I’ll let you know in December if I win.)

I also realized that Advent is just around the corner. I love Advent, and for the past few years have taken great pains to observe and write about this tradition. I hope you’ll stop by here often for some thoughts on the anticipation of the Christmas season as Advent approaches. I feel a new sense of expectation this year.

It’s not cancer that brings good days and bad days. It’s life that does it. And in the midst of life, I am so thankful to know that Jesus is with me.