Skip to content


June 6, 2019


It was, maybe, 2AM.

I awoke from my usual night terror, and stayed awake. So I silently looked at my phone.

A few days earlier I had been put on the list of those getting posts from a young woman I met briefly, once, a decade or more before, at a convention where I talked, that she attended with her father, an architect. She was, objectively, the vision of mid twenties: tall, funny, as visually compelling as you might imagine.

She friended me on Facebook. Over the next years, I found notices of new jobs, locations, men in her life. No communication other than observation. We occasionally “Liked” what was offered by each of us.

But then a great job, a great love, marriage, a child. All the while humor and the beauty of a vibrant, young, family as only the gloss of the Internet affords, fully false intimacy, relegated to the 2D.

So when I got the 3AM notification Friday, I clicked upon it to find she was very, very sick. And her friends had scoured her sites and asked people to support her. I sent some Coach Aphorism, and went to try to sleep.

Then another, a couple of days later. She was in the hospital. Then another note, with a picture of her, she was in a week of rapid fire chemo, fully hooked up, holding her exquisite baby boy in her arms.


But I knew I had no role here.

Then Tuesday, a cry from the woman went out to the world:


”I want to talk about anger. I am angry. I’m angry at this giant life interruption, at this battle for my health. It’s hard to not think, Why NOW? I’ve met and married the love of my life. We have a beautiful child together that we adore. We bought our dream house in our dream city and I love my job more than any other job that I’ve ever had – I plan to be there for decades. The past few days, I’ve been seething in a quiet rage, and I’m realizing how much a part of the grief process this feeling is. There is never a “right” time for this to happen. Only this battle, right now. And I’m scared of failing.”

Once again, after the nightly nightmare, at perhaps 4AM, This response to her just came out of me:

“The hardest lesson (one I never learn, but I understand more as time passes) is that the transactional basis of our lives (earning what I have, deserving what I get) belies the fact that we are owed nothing because we never worked or studied or paid our way into life: it was given to us.

The insane complexity of our bodies and minds was not the product of our effort. Life is to me the unmerited Grace of things I cannot understand. Pain, sorrow, victimization, injustice – just plain inexplicable cruelty – is never deserved, but it is unavoidable.

The other truth is that you do not earn love by acts but it is yours and yours to give. Love is as unnecessary as cruelty, but humans uniquely have these things in every life.

What is left is what you are doing: kicking ass, being unrelenting, accepting and giving love. For me this is all a gift, I earned none of it, I cannot be grateful for the unfair things, but I cannot explain or even understand the overwhelming Grace of life itself either.

I define that Grace as God, but the obvious love all around you is a gift no cruelties of unmerited pain take away: you are loved.”

I have no idea if she has seen this, her friends have. And she has finished a week of Leukemia Hell Chemo. Then more over the next weeks.

There is nothing I can do but pray. In fact I am not sure I did much. Those words just flew out of my fingers at 4AM, no editing save one missing word.

I do not get this. She is basically being victimized by, what? No bad behavior, no malevolent acts, no reason. No reason.

But there is love in response. From her husband, baby, friends and someone she barely knows.

But most importantly, God.

Please, help her.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2019 9:10 am

    Without God life is always about earning and getting, deserving and not deserving, succeeding and failure, and of course blaming. I am trying to rejoice now in my own breast cancer diagnosis, surgery, chemo, and I found this very helpful:

    I will pray for your friend.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: