This year, news of PJ Smyth’s lymphoma was the sandwich in between which the rest of the event was the filling. If you were at TOAM you could not miss it, and it brought the urgency of everything else into sharp focus. In the first session we were told he had a lump in his neck that would be removed. In the last session, Terry shared a text message which PJ had just sent him immediately on arriving home from a doctor’s appointment, which had confirmed it was Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
PJ will be sharing thoughts about his cancer treatment on his new personal blog. I encourage you to follow it. This reminded me of my recent post about tears. Machismo has nothing to offer an under 40 year old father facing a cancer, that although very much potentially treatable, obviously brings one face to face with mortality. Here is an extract:
Learning to cry well
A fair few tears flow daily in the Smyth home at the moment, especially Ashleigh’s and mine. They can break out at almost anytime prompted by gratitude to the kindness and close presence of Jesus, or thankfulness to the kind words and actions of friends, or at news of the suffering of others that is already seeming to break our hearts in a fresh way, or because of tiredness and fear of the unknown. We are trying to cry well and Ps 126 is a great mentor:
Those who sow in tears shall reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him (Ps 126v4-6).
Tears are seed
Tears are not arbitrary or worthless. They are precious seed that if aimed right, can win a harvest of great joy. If a farmer bottles his seed up inside then he can forget about a harvest. Or equally, if he sows indiscriminately pouring out the seed on unfertile ground, then again, harvest will not come. So, the trick is to aim our tears onto good soil . . .
READ MORE at PJ’s Personal Blog.