The diagnosis came. Cancer. Of all the people I knew, she was the last I would have expected to get cancer. She was healthy, active, careful with everything she ate.
But years before, in the seventies and eighties, she’d spent way too much time in the sun—before people knew that was a thing.
I’m not a crier. Crying doesn’t come easy for me. It’s not that I am unwilling to cry… I just… can’t, most of the time.
Instead, I sat in her memorial service, listened to the congregation sing one song over and over so many times that I wince if I even hear the words from Scripture now, and ached to cry.
When we got home, I went online to a private message board I belong to and typed in three words.
I hate sin.
To be fair, I also recall hearing Mr. Smith’s voice from Meet Me in St. Louis saying, “You also do it.”
But really, we like to complain about cancer as if it was some random, inexplicable thing.
Cancer is the result of sin—not in an individual’s life… I’m not saying that my friend did something wrong that directly caused her to get cancer as retribution.
No, I’m talking about the fact that if sin had never entered this world, we’d have no cancer—no diabetes, no heart disease, no asthma, none of it.
If sin had never entered this world, we wouldn’t have had to say goodbye to a wonderful woman before we were done with her.
One thing I’ve tended to leave out of my books is cancer. I justify it because it’s “overdone.” For all I know, that’s not even true. I can recall a book here and there that deal with it, but not many.
So why did I hesitate when I saw a chance to review a book about a cancer survivor?
Beats me. But I did. Still, I’d heard good things about Beth K. Vogt, so I put in my request for a review copy of Moments We Forget and waited.
The Hardest Thing about This Book and Why I Love It
Obviously, the hardest thing about this book should be the cancer—how even after you’ve beaten it, you can lose. Lose your memory, your hopes, your dreams.
I won’t pretend that wasn’t hard, but the point of this book is that hope isn’t found in a lack of cancer diagnosis. It’s found in Jesus.
No, the hardest thing was watching the relationships between these sisters and seeing similarities in people you know and love—seeing how they create their own pain. Seeing that avoiding the pain causes a different kind of pain.
I love the book because the author, with brilliant use of words, welcomes you into the lives of characters. Even her point of view choices offer insights into character development and in the end, you’re left with wanting more.
And that’s a good thing because guess what?
This was book two. We are offered an invitation to walk through that cancer journey with Jillian in Things I Never Told You. It’s on my shelf. It’ll be hard to read. I’m walking through another cancer battle with another friend right now.
Actually, that’s a bit… overstated. She’s walking. I’m following behind, weeping, praising God for victories, begging Him for more time (she’s stage IV), ready to be a support if she needs me but instead, being supported by her amazingness.
This book didn’t just tell stories I related to in a brilliant and poignant way. It prepared my heart for more… for understanding more. And maybe, just perhaps… it helped prepare me for the next day when I come home from a memorial service after saying “see you soon” to a friend who has gone to be with Jesus.
And that day, I’ll probably type those three, horrible words again. I hate sin.
Not an easy book to read, but it’s not hard, either. I don’t know how to classify it, but I recommend it for people who value friendships, who understand broken relationships, and who want to invest a bit more in their lives. I’m so glad I requested and received a review copy. Looking forward to book one. Sort of.
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