How I to Decided to Get Involved in the Suffering of Others
(Founder of Hope Has Arrived)
I’ve been asked why I’ve created Hope Has Arrived.
It seems almost cliché to create a non-profit following an experience that awakens a person to a particular suffering. But as I soon discovered, often there is more to the motives.
In fact, the “why” behind a non-profit or organization is more important than the “what,” because the “why” drives the decisions, content and efforts that define the “what.”
If you are reading this blog, you are trusting me with your time, even if for just a few minutes. And so, I’d like to honor that by being real, and lifting up the curtain about my “why.”
I believe the search for hope is universal—it’s both a unifier and equalizer. When we face a crisis, we all need hope, and we need it NOW.
When I was first diagnosed, the medical world offered me virtually no hope, leaving me desperately searching for something to stand on. At first, hope emerged quietly and cautiously. Eventually, it grew, and I found my sea legs in the turbulent waters of cancer. Eventually, it became a rock on which to stand and weather the onslaught of treatment, scans and appointments.
For me, medical hope came through the medical breakthrough of genomic sequencing.
But more importantly I found hope through my relationship with God, the one they call The Living Hope—indeed he became my bedrock of hope, even more than medicine.
My dad first proposed the idea of creating Hope Has Arrived, even while I was still in treatment. For a long time, it scared me, nearly as much as facing cancer.
As my health improved, rather than return to cancer, I wanted to distance myself from it. Strike it from the record, expunge the whole experience, if that were possible.
I certainly did not want to talk to others with cancer, especially those who were still in the battle. Their fragility reminded me of my own fragility. Their suffering reminded me of my suffering. Their fear reminded me that I am also still afraid of going back down into “the pit”—that time when I had no hope.
In fact, one day a friend I hadn’t talked to in a long time, whose child was facing cancer, texted me and asked me about part of my treatment. Through a delayed and terse text, I made it pretty clear I didn’t want to “talk shop” about cancer.
I still regret it.
Yet soon my mindset began to change.
One morning, I was reading a book called, “Lord, I Want to Know You: A Devotional Study About the Names of God,” when a line shook me: “We want to be healed ourselves. But we do not want to be involved in others’ healing.”
So true. Like so many people facing cancer, I was desperate for the hope of healing, if it was even possible in my situation. But once I experienced hope, it became powerful and life-changing. It gave me a whole new perspective—that perhaps my diagnosis wasn’t as limiting as I first thought. That maybe in the new world of cancer, the script can be flipped. And even if the script isn’t flipped, that somehow, because of an undefeatable hope, life can still be good and filled with joy.
Once I found that hope, it helped lift me out of the pit and into the light of day again. And so, why would I risk losing it by re-entering the mess with others?
My hesitancy seemed wise, something positive for my well-being, as a way to protect my family and me. But behind my motives, beyond my desire to care for myself and my family, lurked an ugly selfishness and cowardice. I think it also stemmed from a misunderstanding of hope.
That line in that book jostled and unsettled my plan to play it safe.
What I soon realized is that hope is a virtue very similar to love. There is no shortage of it. Hope doesn’t get depleted when you share it, instead it grows and multiplies.
Anyone who has ever had a child, knows how love multiplies. At first, the idea of a baby may seem inconvenient, an interruption even. But then quickly your heart warms to them during the pregnancy, and suddenly you create a new space of love for them in your heart that you didn’t know could exist. You don’t feel depleted by this space, but simply fuller.
Hope is like that.
I found hope through genomic sequencing and God, my Living Hope.
I can’t keep this hope to myself. I want others to find the freedom and security of hope, too.
So, I’m willing to take the risk and plunge back into the pit with others if it means I can bring some light and hope with me.
As I’m learning, helping others find hope brings immeasurable joy. And this joy compels me.
My desire is that as you explore this website you will be infused with the hope of another survivor sharing the cancer experience with you.
Maybe as you read this, you feel the same hesitancy to get involved in the mess with others. But I encourage you, take steps to reach out to others, even in the smallest ways. Maybe through a text or getting involved in a support group. Or maybe a step for you would be to send me an email and tell me what you are thinking about as you face this. Share with me about what is giving you hope. Like you, I don’t have all the answers, but I would be honored to know more about your journey.
Remember this: sharing the hope you have won’t deplete your own supply but will only increase it.
I believe this wholeheartedly.
You are not alone. You have a lot more in common with other people facing cancer than you may have realized.
This is true for me. And the realization that my joy only grew as I’ve walked with other survivors has deepened my resolve to share my hope.
Yours for hope.
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