An Internal Revolution
So bummed today as another warrior has lit the torch to Annihilate Brain Cancer.
Rest in Piece: Darrell Cain 1985 – 2012
“Blessed are Those who Mourn, for they will be comforted” – Matthew 5:4
“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.” – Ecclesiastes 7:2
I’ve always hated these verses. Now hear me out…I’ve hated them because they are a reminder that death (in the human sense) is inevitable. It’s a fatalistic perspective. I’ve blogged about this before. I choose HOPE not inevitability, but when I hear about people like 26 year old space enthusiast (like myself) and M.I.T. graduate (I wish I could say that about myself) Darrell Cain dying from Brain Cancer (his mom Jeanne has been following the blog for a while), it makes my words and attitude feel empty to me. Now as a Christian I understand that death is not the end but the beginning of a new Heavenly life, free of sin and pain (and I know that Darrell is experiencing that now). But what about those of us left behind that feel the enormous loss of those people we love? We still have to live with the pain of that separation. We still have to live with the reminder that their death was inevitable. If death is inevitable and Heaven is so great then what’s the point in “fighting” for my “earthly” life? I don’t have an answer. Not an answer that I can articulate at least. I just know that I have to continue to fight. People like Darrell, David, Brad, Mark, Anne, Mel, Tommy, Bob, and Jackson have each given me fuel and motivation to push forward and to not shut up about HOPE and the need for a cure. Their attitude (and their family’s attitude) make my attitude and my words not feel so empty. I believe wholeheartedly that by taking up the mantle will lead to a literal revolution that will end the tyranny of Brain Cancer. What I know now is that it starts with an “internal revolution”.
Something that I think about often is that the very same book that the verses above come from (The Bible) has been used to condone slavery as well as to get rid of it. It has also been used for violent revolutions as well as peaceful ones. History always favors the latter. The question becomes how can the same book create such opposite world views/actions. I believe that the same book also provides a reasonable answer to that question. It’s all about a man’s heart. How many freakin’ times does the Bible reference a man’s heart? The answer is…”Uh…pretty much the entire thing.” Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” I like the New American Standard version as well, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; For out of it are the issues of life.” The fact that I’ve always hated the verses above says more about me than the words themselves (or God). It has been an “internal revolution” (a transformed heart) that has eventually lead me to not only understanding but even loving those verses. As I’ve said in previous posts, Brain Cancer has taught me how “real” life can get, and pushed me past my own perceived limitations. The Ecclesiastes verse is saying exactly that. Those of us who face death or have dealt with it…get it! We get it! You get it! No more squabbling, fretting, quarrels needed…if you’ve been to a house of mourning and been comforted then you’ve been blessed and know exactly what I’m saying. For me it was kindness that led me to repentance (a transformed heart). Nothing else. Through this internal revolution I’ve come to realize that kindness and “turning the other cheek” are not passive actions but actually have the same fire power as any high powered weapon. A transformed heart, filled with true freedom, sees the world through a different lens, a lens that is laser focused on ending injustice (I’m often reminded of this whenever I hear of someone dying from Cancer, or have seen photos of lynch mobs, or have met prostituted children, or have been in the midst of extreme poverty, or witnessed abuse, or — you get what I’m saying). The way to end injustice is to be assertive and to step up (not talking about the dancing movies) with your heart in the right place (armed with love and wisdom).
The Bible also says (in Philippians 2:3) “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” I believe this is why I’m still here, why I’m writing in a public forum (also why I’m crying as I write this). This is why the deaths of the names above won’t go in vain because they and their families NEED Grace to wash over them. Death may be inevitable but it doesn’t have to come from Brain Cancer. Stopping the “inevitability” of Brain Cancer will ONLY come in the form of a revolution led by all those who have been effected DIRECTLY by it’s horror and injustice or an “Internal Revolution” from within the Brain Cancer community…It’s not coming from anyone or anywhere else and we as a community need to accept the “inevitability” of that fact. Imagine it…no more experimental treatments, no more stealing treatments from other Cancers, no more nuking heads, no more poisoning our bodies, no more MRIs…just a targeted right down the middle fastball to annihilate brain tumors forever (in tandem with an education to help improve quality of life of course). That fastball is coming and it’s being thrown by a hybrid of Randy Johnson/Nolan Ryan in their glory days (like when Johnson exploded that bird…click here to see).
Amy and I have a woman who has been a spiritual mentor to us this past year and is always sending encouragement when we need it (without us telling her). This morning she sent Amy a text with verses Mark 11:22-24 “Have faith in God, Jesus answered. Truly, I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself in the sea!’, and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” I don’t think that she sent us that verse by accident because it helped me to realize that this revolution needs to start with a revolution of the heart. A heart that is transformed into believing in HOPE, believing without a doubt that Brain Cancer Annihilation can happen, and feeling compelled to step up and push back against the “inevitability” of death caused by Brain Cancer. I’ve had people ask me for “marching orders” because they already get it and they’re looking for guidance. Just so you know I’ve been inspired with big plans that are coming but require a lot of effort and cooperation and planning (so in other words…they require time). In the meantime my “Marching orders” to the Brain Cancer community would be to focus on an internal revolution. Believe it. See it. Learn what motivates you and Step up (again, not talking about the dancing movies). Believing mountains can move is nothing new to humanity. Twenty years before I was born, a young Irish-American president told Congress that by the end of the decade he wanted a man on the moon. At the time, there was no technology to make that happen. People couldn’t even conceive of how to make it happen. Guess what? It happened. On the day it happened, the whole world was one.”One small step for man..One giant leap for MANKIND”. I think it’s only fitting that we as a community set a similar goal to find a cure for Brain Cancer (In fact I want it for all brain disorders). Darrell Cain was passionate about space so let’s honor him by exploring the vast cosmos of the brain and not let his or anyone’s death go in vain. We’re doing this because we KNOW that Brain Cancer Annihilation is going to happen.
P.S. I think it’s no accident that I’m writing this a year to the day of my first surgery.