Nathan and Elisa Bond have cancer. His cancer — stage 3 colorectal- was diagnosed in February. Hers — metastatic breast cancer — only days later. Elisa’s cancer is considered incurable. Nathan has about a 60 percent chance of recovery.
If all that wasn’t tragic enough, the young couple have an 18-month-old daughter, Sadie.
Perhaps you saw them interviewed on the Today Show earlier this week?
Here’s the disclaimer: Matt Lauer is a pro at interviewing. I’ve never really seen him biff an interview.
For those of you who may have missed it, I transcribed some of the interview for you:
Matt: I need your help. I don’t want people at home to simply find despair in this, and I know you don’t want that either. So where is the humanity here? Where is the piece of this where people can walk away with and take a deep breath and feel better as opposed to feeling very sorry for the two of you?
Somebody slap Matt, would you?
Where is the piece of this where people can walk away with and take a deep breath and feel better as opposed to feeling very sorry for the two of you?
I wanted to hit pause and replay over and over and over again. I was utterly gap-mouthed that a professional like Lauer would make such a completely IGNORAMOUS statement.
Where is the piece of this where people can walk away with and take a deep breath and feel better …
I have long complained about the shallow waters which our media treads — and Matt’s interview is a classic example of that.
Lemme see if I’ve gotten this straight, Matt. Nathan and Elisa have a precious baby girl that they want to see grow up. They want to be around for her first t-ball game. Her first dog. Her first trip to the zoo. Her first airplane ride.
But the odds aren’t in their favor right now. And, in fact, as Elisa told you, it’s been pretty hard caring for their precious girl in-between bouts of puking and exhaustion that comes with aggressive treatment necessary to buy them more time.
Were you listening, Lauer, when Elisa said just the other night they had to make a run to the ER because her husband spiked a high fever and as all cancer patients know fevers can be life-threatening? Have you ever had to make a trip to the ER with a baby, Lauer? Do you have any idea how exhausting that is for the average healthy parent?
No. Of course not. You don’t have a clue. You just want to make sure that you don’t end your little 3 minute segment on a negative note. You don’t want people to go away feeling sad. That’s bad for ratings. You just want Nathan and Elisa to help you out.
Where is the piece of this where people can walk away with and take a deep breath and feel better…
As if Nathan and Elisa don’t have enough on their minds– what with trying to not die and all — now they need to help the rest of us feel better about their plight because God forbid we actually feel empathy for others.
Mark my words, people: We are drowning in shallow waters.
I understand what Lauer was getting at — even if he doesn’t. Despair is the worst of all emotions. It can rob us of life in ways that cancer never will.
Despair is the reason dead men walk.
But empathy may very well be our best emotion — it is that fiery thing that welds all our brokenness into something resembling community. It’s the rope that binds us together.
Empathy makes us dig for weeks in the rubble for that one lost soul. Empathy compels us to design the artificial limbs so that the double-amputee can walk again. Empathy mandates that we clean out that extra bedroom and offer it to the refugee, for as long as they need it. Empathy knocks us to our knees when the neighbor’s child is found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Empathy gives us the courage to clean the bedsores of the man crippled for ten years now after that awful fall from his horse. Empathy makes us get up on cold winter mornings to serve biscuits and hot coffee to those who slept fitfully on frozen ground. Empathy enables us to say to the couple with cancer — “I am praying for you. I’ll be by Tuesday to clean your house and mow your lawn so you can take Sadie to the zoo.”
As Lord Tennyson once advised: ” I must lose myself in action, lest I wither in despair.”