Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Terrible news in the blogosphere

The Internet Monk always has been a blog I greatly admire.

Its proprietor, Michael Spencer, possesses the great gift of being able to write gracefully while making great sense.

TUESDAY, however, brought terrible news about this brother in Christ, who has been struggling with cancer. His wife, Denise, writes:
It is with a heavy heart that I bring my latest update on Michael. We have learned that his cancer is too advanced and too aggressive to expect any sort of remission. Our oncologist estimates that with continued treatment Michael most likely has somewhere between six months and a year to live. This is not really a surprise to us, though it is certainly horrible news. From the very beginning, both of us have suspected that this would prove to be an extremely bad situation. I don’t know why; perhaps God was preparing us for the worst all along by giving us that intuition.

The combination of the cancer and the chemotherapy is keeping Michael in a very weakened state. He is in bed all day, getting up once or twice only to eat a “meal.” His meals consist mostly of Ensure, with occasional mugs of soup, dishes of ice cream and milkshakes. He’s still taking fluids well, currently preferring Sprite and ginger ale. His tastes do change slightly from time to time, and I try to be ready to jump in whatever direction they seem to be moving. He is in no pain at all, for which I am unspeakably grateful.
NEWS LIKE THIS always renders me with no good words with which to petition the Lord. I literally am reduced, without fail, to "Lord, have mercy."

Upon further reflection, it seems to me this isn't a bad prayer at all. God has His reasons for what he does and does not permit to befall any of us -- when he will and won't directly intervene in this fallen world's fallen workings.

We cannot understand the mind of God. As Flannery O'Connor once wrote:
Whatever you do anyway, remember that these things are mysteries and that if they were such that we could understand them, they wouldn’t be worth understanding. A God you understood would be less than yourself.
WHICH LEAVES ME with but my simple prayer for Michael Spencer and the rest of us, too.

Lord, have mercy.

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