The Importance Of Faith And Cancer By Emily Thompson

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Thompson’s book is a self-professed attempt to offer, “a story about talking faith in the midst of cancer and talking cancer in light of faith” (pg xiv). As a professor of religion and as a cancer patient Thompson is well equipped to articulate the ups and downs, hopes and despairs that is faith and cancer.
She begins her memoir recalling her first MRI that revealed a fractured spine in spite of the examinations results that showed her bone density to be healthy for age. Unbeknownst to her, this was a result of a rare chance, “one in a thousand chances” to be the result of cancer(pg 9). In the early stages of her discovery of cancer her familial relations proved to be beneficial and quite significant in aiding Thompson to gain access/special
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She explains how she was aware of her risk of cancer due to the history it has within her family but still has some naive notion that cancer would arise sometime in the distant future. She writes, “I was numb; a surreal quality surrounded these first hours after the diagnosis. I was confused over how breast cancer was discovered in my back” (pg 13-14). In these lines, one can get a sense of the overall shock Thompson experienced and the weight of the mystery that is cancer for those unfamiliar to the life of cancer. However shocking and mysterious this disease can be Thompson is quick to note how people, particular places, and activities helped her cope with the shock and despair that her and her family face throughout this dark time of cancer. It is on this point where one can see a constant stream throughout the book. She writes the dynamic role cancer has played in relation to her social circles. How it pushed some away but also drew others closer and throughout the entirety proved to be a humbling experience that conjured feelings of underserved love and grace accompanied by a deep sense of guilt. Thompson relied strongly on a site called CaringBridge a website where one can update friends, family, and even strangers on your journey with cancer as well as organize assistance for those who are in need of help like meals or house …show more content…
She writes that she is now caught between relief and the unknown, “if the shadowy future becomes reality, will anything other then despair be possible for me?” (pg 128). This leaves her at a place of gratitude, grace, and grief. I found this to be an interesting place to dwell and one that has left her to trust her entirety to God and to hope for a cancer free tomorrow. As she concludes the book, Thompson reflects on the idea of cure and the idea of praying for a cure. “With God all things are possible,” she writes (pg 127). For her it has become important to talk not only about God’s work in the present but it is just as important for us to address God’s promises of life beyond the grave, to offer words of real hope for a better tomorrow (pg 145). It is in this idea that I find Thompson’s book most insightful and powerful for the faithful especially for those in the midst of uncertainty. How we talk about God and God’s work and how we talk about the future to come helps us all stand with hope and confront what is before us and what is yet to

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