Never Surrender

6 Jun

“You are not the darkness you endured.  You are the light that refused to surrender.”  ~ John Mark Green

This afternoon, we will bring the body of Deacon Daniel Zurawski to the church for the Rite of the Reception of the Body and the beginning of his wake and funeral today and tomorrow.  When I saw today’s quote, I thought of Deacon Dan right away.  I also thought about another good friend of mine who lives in Valparaiso and who faces cancer.

Deacon Dan was diagnosed with cancer several years ago.  When he was diagnosed, the cancer was at stage four which meant that it was throughout his system and that he was considered terminal.  Deacon Dan was told that he did not have a long time at all before death.  As a matter of fact, six-and-a-half years ago was the latest time that he should have died given his diagnosis and prognosis.

Deacon Dan knew one thing, though.  He knew that we are more than diagnoses and prognoses.  He knew that we are all individuals and that our days will sort themselves out in the manner in which we engage with them.  Deacon Dan decided long ago that he was going to do two things: (1) abandon himself into God’s hands so that God could do whatever He wanted and (2) fight like hell against his cancer and prognosis.

He made it farther than his doctors would have suspected.  He served longer than most of us thought would be possible for him.  It was with sadness a couple of years ago that he came to the church to gather all of his belongings because he knew that he would not be able to deacon at liturgies or Mass.  But he was not giving up.  He was just accepting that one part of his life.  And he kept going.

We all know people like Deacon Dan and they are bright beacons for us as we face all sorts of things in our lives.  There are many people who suffer and yet others around them — sometimes even their own families or circle of friends — do not know the severity by which they suffer.

If hardship, opposition, pain, or illness come your way, know that you can do one of two things.  You can give up and wallow in self-pity or you can abandon yourself into God’s hands and fight like hell.

FAITH ACTION:  Pray for all who endure much suffering, that they may find comfort and strength in the Lord.