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I dream about the day when it doesn’t take an alarming diagnosis for us to stop, look around, and assess the quality of our life.

We are just fine with shutting people out of our life, until tragedy strikes and we have no one to walk alongside us.

We are just fine eating poorly, until we are officially charged diabetic, then we begin taking seriously what we put in our bodies and start taking better care of ourselves.

We are just fine with our mediocre life and our mediocre relationships, until we are diagnosed with Cancer, then all of a sudden we have a great desire to live the life we truly want to live, and only do it alongside a few *quality* friends.

Everything is OK until we get that official report telling us it’s not OK and it’s time to do something about it.

Truth is, everything was not OK, we just got comfortable with not Ok, and not OK eventually turned into good enough.

One compromise after another and we are deep in a life that we never *really* wanted. One cigarette after another, and now we are chain smokers. Never thought about that in high school, did we. When we started smoking, it was just Ok.

Year after year of OK leads us down the path we never *really* wanted to travel on.

Cancer grows like that, you know.

One cancerous cell, overpowering and attaching itself onto other cells – growing larger and spreading out with each union – until one day you go to the doctor to investigate a small lump. He reveals a large tumor hidden beneath the surface.

Conflict in relationships is similar.

One small disagreement between a friend or family member, left unattended, layers itself on top of one offense after another; growing the conflict larger and spreading it wider through gossip and passive aggressive behaviors. Until one day your friendship breaks apart and dies.

What if we saw conflict – however small or ridiculous – as cancer? What if we saw the potential of life or death in the way that we dealt with it?

Cancer, left unattended, kills. Conflict in relationships, left unattended, kills.

What if we chose to fight for unity just as passionately as we fight for life after a cancer diagnosis?

Here’s something you may not understand about fighting cancer: while the medicine, radiation, chemotherapy and surgery are the weapons that remove the cancerous cells, your responsibility is to focus on using the weapons that are necessary for infusing LIFE: creating a culture of PEACE, maintaining an attitude of JOY and strengthening yourself in the FAITH.

This is the real war on cancer. Doctors battle against DEATH (cancer). We fight for LIFE (hope).

All sides must work together, it’s a team effort; a united front.

I came to understand this while fighting alongside my daughter. We were a holistic family, we owned a wellness clinic. At first, we began fighting against the medical system, questioning everything and doubting their dangerous treatment.

When we finally recognized their heart was FOR life, we began to trust. Trust brought us peace and enabled us to walk hand in hand with their methods. Unity. Same mission, different assignments.

You see, there was a conflict going on in my daughter’s body. Some cells were fighting FOR life and there were cells fighting FOR disease. It wasn’t until all parties came into alignment to fight FOR life that we began seeing great progress and eventually won the war on cancer in her body.

If we would see conflict as just as dangerous, just as life-threatening, in relationships, we would begin working harder, fighting more fiercely and giving all we have, to maintain UNITY.

Instead, we see conflict as two faces. One is you and the other is me. This is where we get tripped up. The enemy loves to put a face to our pain; we just have to agree with him and then point our finger at them. Truth is – conflict is just feelings and emotions that rub against each other wrong. It’s how we handle these feelings and emotions, how we respond to them that determines if a relationship will survive and thrive or lie down and die.

Who, after being diagnosed with cancer, says, “Oh well, guess I’ll just sit here and wait for something to change.”

Absolutely not. We look for a cure, we search for treatment, and we change our behaviors and adjust our lifestyle – all in hopes of staying alive.

A friend and fellow cancer survivor calls himself “a relentless butthole”. He will pursue life, pursue friendships and relentlessly express his love and concern for you, whether you like it or not. I get that. Who doesn’t want friends like that?!

Because that’s what survivors do: we fight to stay alive.  So many people have learned how to fight hard *for* life. That’s why I believe we are able to fight FOR unity. But first we must become united in cause, committing to the cause – it has to be of value to us, the relationship has to be of value to us.

The greatest way to communicate someone’s value in your life is to commit to fighting FOR the relationship.

What about you – are you in conflict, and are you fighting FOR what you value or are you laying down and waiting for something to change on its own?

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