“When you die, that does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.” –Stuart Scott
Over the last few weeks, I’ve pondered the statement, “He lost his battle to cancer.” To be honest, before my father passed away due to complications with cancer, I never gave it much thought. Then, I began to think, did he really lose? What did he lose? And then, I heard those now-famous words spoken by the late Stuart Scott who also passed away with cancer just days ago. “When you die, that does not mean you lose to cancer.” That confirmed what I believe for him, my dad and the many others who battle the disease and other sicknesses. Just because you die, doesn’t mean you lost.
People were shocked when they heard that my dad had passed. Most never even knew he had cancer. He was the kind of man who rarely got sick and if we was sick, you wouldn’t know it. He got up and did whatever he had to do every day. He did it with joy, energy and a quickness that made it difficult to keep up with him. While you were still digesting what he had just said, or taught or did, he was on to the next thing. He was a forward mover. He was always thinking of how to better himself—always learning. So it is no surprise that even cancer could not slow him down. For twelve years, he battled it. He battled going to the doctor’s office for those monthly check ups—sometimes receiving good reports and other times not so good. He renewed his faith in spite of hearing the statistics of the life expectancy of those with cancer. He resisted the urge to fall victim to the disease, lie down and give in. He fought a brave, difficult and valiant fight. He continued living in the midst of what the doctor’s said. He continued thriving regardless of what his body was doing. He continued dreaming and thinking and teaching. He continued playing with his grandchildren, never letting on how weak he may have felt in the end. He continued spending time with his wife and children.
He made a choice from day one, that he would live with cancer and would win! He would continue to trust the Lord for healing. He never wavered in his faith and was quick to give God praise for all that He was doing in His life. No, we may not understand why God chose to allow my dad to join Him in heaven at such an early age, but I do know that my dad had no regrets. He lived his life. I believe if he were still with us, he would want all of us to LIVE! He would want us to move forward and not be held back by the doctor’s report or any obstacle in our lives. He would want us to spend time with family and friends because each day could be our last. He would want us to make the most of each day and move with a quickness, because “time waits for no man”. He would want us not to praise our diseases or issues by rehearsing them over and over, but to get up and live. He would not want us to play the role of the victim or engage in self-pity. He would want us to see the good in the situation and encourage someone else. He would want us to persevere and “stay the course”. I can’t recall how many times my dad told me this. I’m sure there were times he wanted to abandon ship and give up, but he followed the advice he had given so many others—to stay the course! Never give up. Keep fighting. Keep pressing. Keep giving. Keep being. Keep learning. Keep living. He would want us to not question God, but trust that He knows what’s best. In the words of my dad’s favorite song, “I’ll Trust Him Just the Same”, will you trust the Lord with your life—whatever comes?
My hopes are placed on high
All other hopes are vain.
Yet, tho’ at times God seems not nigh,
I’ll trust Him just the same.
Tho’ heavy woes come down,
Tho’ Satan seems to reign,
Tho’ God upon me seems to frown,
I’ll trust Him just the same.
I’ll seek Him for His grace,
Nor of my lot complain,
I’ll take Him for my hiding place,
and trust Him just the same.
Yea, tho’ my friends may scorn,
and troubles make me mourn,
I’ll seek in tears His lovely face,
And trust Him just the same.
-Song written by Charles Price Jones
~Coletta Jones Patterson