The woman was quite upset when I told her about the cancer. The most outward display of emotion I have seen here with delivery of such news. Obviously afraid, she begged me not to leave her. Clinging tightly to my hand, she didn’t even give me the option to leave. She was overwhelmed by confusion, fear, vulnerability, and despair. One moment of bad news brought out every insecurity. I prayed with her, but she was too overwhelmed by her emotions to find comfort there. She called her husband on the phone and spoke to him with a scared, cracking voice. He was her husband of many years, and she begged him to come to the hospital, with deep hope that he would somehow make it better. She yearned for his presence. I had to go on with my work for the day, so I gently freed my hand from her firm grasp. I ensured her that I would return to discuss the cancer with her husband when he arrived. It took hours for him to get there, all the while her fears and needs grew deeper. When he came, he made me even ashamed. I tried to break the news to him gently, since I saw that his wife was banking so much on him. I imagined that his deep love for her would make the news hard to hear. But he never seemed to care about her. His only questions, deeply concerned as he asked them, were about how to protect himself from getting cancer. He understood that it was associated with sex. He understood that it had been working in her for years. And so, logically, he knew that he must have been exposed. Was he at risk? Did he need vaccines, or testing, or screening??? He was willing to do anything to make sure it wasn’t eating him up inside too. But it didn’t bother him at all that he had likely given the infection to her, or that his wife’s burden was far too heavy for her to bear. She bent her shoulders forward sitting in that ward full of women, broken by the despair of disease and the lack of concern from those she loved. I wondered if she was as ashamed of him as I was. I felt sorry for her. She was not a love, or partner, but only a risk to him. However, he had been everything to her.
It reminded me of how much we need to know the love of God. It is a love that does not fail, better than the best any person on earth could provide. There is no one who can fill every need you have except Him. To place our every hope, our every dream, our everything, on another, only gives them a heavier load than they can carry. No one can fill us up except the One who is meant to “fill all in all”. He can always be trusted, he always cares, and he never leaves His people. I wish that lady knew that there was a far surpassing Love available. She was made for more than her miserable husband could provide.