Friday, 26 August 2011

Reasons to be cheerful.....Part II

At the beginning of this year, my Father in Law was diagnosed with cancer of his liver.  This finding was completely unexpected.  Today I’m happy to report that he has remained completely clear of all cancerous cells for about 2-months now.  Amazing given the size of the tumour and his other medical conditions with which he suffers.  Added to this is his age of 72 years.   It’s remarkable what the medical profession can achieve these days.  That and his positive mental attitude that undoubtedly helped carry him through.  His wife, who has since been ordained as a Minister of the Church will have spent hours and days asking God.  And then equal if not more time thanking God for sparing him.  He’s now in really good health given what he’s been through.

Last week, a friend and respected colleague announced that he too had just been diagnosed with cancer.  Being a religious man he asked for prayers to be said to help both himself and his family at this time of struggle.  I spoke with him just this week and was bowled over at how up-beat he was.  Determined to fight his condition, up for the challenge and extremely focused on the battle that lies ahead of him.  His name is Mike and he’s started his own blog to document his thoughts and feelings which he has graciously allowed me to link to here:

Some good news though, Mike found out yesterday that his initial diagnosis and prognosis is not as bad as it first appeared.  He still has cancer, but his type of cancer does not appear to be as aggressive as he and the physicians first thought.  This is fantastic news.  

I was brought up by my Grandmother who used to drag me to church every Sunday to attend Mass at St Joseph’s Catholic Church in North Wales.  I hated going for many reasons.  It was a long walk to get there.  Worse in the winter months and worse still because I was never allowed to eat anything until we eventually returned home again because we would be taking Communion.  At 8-years of age I had no idea what was being said nor why my Grandmother who barely had enough money to put food on the table, used to hand over little envelopes of cash to the Priests each week.  Especially as most of them used to reek of stale tobacco or booze or both!

It’s a funny thing religion.  I’m not knocking it and I fully appreciate and respect the faith people have in their Gods.  I don’t really buy-in to it being the cause of all wars because in my view, that’s down to the people using it as a vehicle for violence and hatred – it’s not the religion per se.  I’ve always wondered why, if God exists, good people are made to suffer such horrible illnesses like cancer.  I’ve been even more perplexed as to how such people take an even stronger grip  on their faith when they’ve been blighted by such things when I would be asking ‘Why me?’  ‘Haven’t I served you well for all these years?’

But I guess it’s a mindset.  A total belief despite whatever is happening in their worlds they still have faith that God will do what is right irrespective of the final outcome.

Faith, hope, even glory.  It’s what drives people on to succeed and beat the odds.  It’s the faith in God, oneself, the team, the systems of management and processes that appear to work.  Who would have thought 50-years ago that we would have advanced at the rate we have as a collective of mammals; mere mortals?  But somebody somewhere had the belief.  No one ever achieved anything by not daring to believe; to dream; to hope, overcome and achieve.

When all is dark around you, whatever your circumstances; however slim your chances of achieving your dream; it’s important to believe.

Wishing you every success in all that you do,



  1. Keith -
    Thanks for this personal revelation, and your astute observations. I've always parsed "religion" from "faith," because I think people get into trouble when they combine or even leverage them. I've always seen faith as the personal relationship a person has with their higher power, whatever they may call it, and religion as the place/method by which you can convene with others who believe in a similar way as you.

    In this sense, one CAN say that football is religion, or music or cancer or whatever.

    Glad you found some, mate.
    Nader Ashway

  2. I am glad to hear the good news about your Father-in-law and your friend. My Daddy died of lung cancer so I know how scary this can be. Your ideas about religion and faith may stem from the experience you had as a child. Mine were quite different and I can tell you I have a strong faith in God and believe in the resurrected Christ. I also believe in having dreams and setting goals and achieving things. I do believe that God helps me to do that. I am a person who does not believe in knocking people because of their beliefs, but I do enjoy sharing the love of Jesus with others. I believe it is a personal choice that we all have to make for ourselves. Blessings, Deborah

  3. Thanks for sharing so much with us! As a clinical psychologist, I was going to write a very "sophisticated" journal of my cancer journey, but, instead, it ended up being a very unsophisticated journal of Thanksgiving. There were just so many things to be thankful for each day of my journey that, although I would never ask for such a journey, I'm also glad that I didn't miss it. Thanks for a great blog and I'll be back!

  4. Keith,

    Everytime I think I have your blog figured out you do something like this... knock me out of my seat!

    I'm sure by now you've seen my name enough to get a glimpse of my perspective on life, love, and happiness. I believe the happiest people are not the ones who live the lives with the least conflict. Quite the contrary. The happiest people are the ones who find away to keep their resolve through the most confusing and frustrating times.

    I'm convinced that faith is a catalyst for joy. I understand how you can sincerely say that religion is not the source of yoru strength. I respect your position. I am, however, pleased to see how clearly you articulated the the connection between the fight inside of your friend, father-in-law, mother-in-law, and grandmother and their faith in something "bigger."

    Again, great post!!!!

  5. Thanks for a very insightful message. Great food for thought. I agree...however slim your chances are of obtaining your dream, you must still believe. Your belief/faith is what will carry you through. Great blog! Please check mine out:

    Janet Kay's Journey

  6. Great article.. thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings..lots to think of. YES, all comes through our beliefs and hopes and dreams.. Again.. thanks for spreading the joy of hope.

  7. The power of believing is truly amazing! Great post!

  8. Great post. I too am not the most religious person despite being forced to go to church as a kid. I'm a firm believer that if you have faith it something, no matter what it is, it drives you. As long as people are driven to succeed than more power to them.

  9. I think religion is extremely self-gratifying, and can be explained through behaviourist principles. That being said, I know a number of people who I'm sure would be very sad and very unmotivated if they didn't have the guidance of religion.

    If religion makes people happy, and, indeed, motivates them to overcome adversity, such as severe illness, then kudos to religion.