Not quite tomorrow

Well I thought I was going to carry straight on .. but a couple of days got in the way.

Our summer has been a little strange. Many of you know that I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the end of May. There was some family history so Alison and I were alert to it. I shall be having radiotherapy in September. I’m very well at present and carrying on doing most of what I do – although glad that things are quieter during the summer.

I haven’t written about it up to now. I think it takes a while to get yourself straightened out. I’m thankful and humbled by the prayers of people right across our church and beyond – and the kindness and candle-lighting of many good friends – and laying on of hands and anointing.

I’m not going to write a sort of ‘cancer-diary’ That somehow gives it an importance which it doesn’t merit – although I said to my GP that I have seen enough to make me entirely respectful of the reality which cancer represents. But I do find myself reflecting on a couple of things which I may write about as we go.

The first is the experience of being prayed for.

The second is the need to explore the space between pastoring people who are living with cancer and having that experience yourself. I must have travelled that road with dozens if not hundreds of people in my time. But it is different.

The third is how the way in which people react to you changes. People are kind and caring – unfailingly so. But at a deeper level it’s worth thinking about what happens when somebody who has needed to express – among other things – clarity and firmness in leadership begins to express vulnerability as well. That seems to me to be about the interesting question of how – if vocation is alive – what you are and what you are becoming is shaped, expressed and put to use in ministry.

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