Steve Hayner, formerly President of Columbia Theological Seminary and InterVarsity, and World Vision Board Member, was diagnosed with a terminal cancer. He and his wife (and daughter) wrote posts in a beautiful meditative diary of trust and faith as Steve went through some treatment but ultimately went from life to Life (what a great way of saying ‘death’). Do not avoid this book because you think it will be sad or awkward to read. This is a brave and honest look at the different stages and decisions of living with cancer that clearly will help others on a similar journey. There are so many beautiful nuggets to collect in it–perspectives, quotes, thoughts, and stories. I know I will be referring to it again in the future.
Death hurts because we were meant for life but we are not without hope. The Hayners capture a powerful message about joy in this book–joy cannot be reliant on our circumstances. Circumstances are too variable to be the foundation of our daily feelings about life. Too often we equate ‘blessings’ with circumstances instead of with God’s loving embrace. We don’t need much help to find joy in the good times, but in the bad times, we need all the help we can get. After all, aren’t we all just “walking each other home” and isn’t dying the only thing we can all be sure of?
This weekend one of our daughters asked me to help her complete a knitting project. Together we looked at the pattern and the yarn and figured out what was what. She was able to proceed and she successfully finished the project, but when she thanked me I replied, “Well, I really didn’t do that much…” She came back with a beautiful line that will stick with me, because it so aptly demonstrates the importance of doing life together. She said, “Yes you did. You helped me to brave the unknown.”