At holiday parties over the weekend, I saw some friends I hadn’t seen in a while.

Even as we were catching up, talking about work and family and church activities, I knew the dreaded question would come. It’s always well-meaning, and it always makes me feel cared for. But my answer never satisfies anyone. Including myself.

“So, you’re doing great. Now what?” they always say, wanting, like me, for there to be a pill to take or a test to run or a diet to adjust to – anything – that will make the cancer stay away for good.

But unfortunately, the wanting doesn’t make it so. Instead, I am left to say, “Well, I am going to just keep on living.”

Once, I told someone who asked “now what?” that “I just wait for the cancer to come back.” But really, that’s not what I’m doing. Maybe in the past it was, but now, I try not to even think about cancer.

Except that cancer changes everything. It changes how I think about the future; it changes how I think about right now. So, I try not to even think about cancer except for the hundreds of times each day I do.

In a strange way, I think having cancer has given me a unique insight into waiting for Jesus.

I could just stop everything and spend every minute waiting. Or, I can keep on living, thinking about Jesus’ return all the time. Except of course during the times I am not.

That’s the difference, between being an Advent Christian and a cancer survivor. Though I think about both a lot, I try to think of one more and one less.

So, you are celebrating Advent, now what?

Just keep on living.

The living makes the waiting a lot easier.


We’ve had an amazing response to the High Calling Advent Writing Project. There’s still time to link up your post, if you’d like to participate. All links must be submitted by this Wednesday, December 7.

I am going to be posting links to one or two posts a day over the rest of Advent.

Photo by James Marvin Phelps, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.