0ver 400 people poured into our sanctuary one afternoon this summer for the funeral of Mitch, a 25 year-old who died after a 4-year struggle with cancer. His family shared with me the blog he had written over the course of his final year. It was at once beautiful and crass, poignant and blunt, insightful and silly; all told, a remarkable offering of himself to others facing cancer diagnosis.
One of his posts, “Wedding Week”, speaks of his preparations for marrying the love of his life, a woman he affectionately called Squid, known by others as Sydney. He ends the post by saying “I can’t wait to start living the rest of my life with Squid.”
The rest of his life would be 3 months.
Sydney gave one of the most moving eulogies I’ve heard in 20 years of ministry. Still clear and articulate through her weeping, she spoke of her love for her husband. She said that she couldn’t imagine how painful it was going to be to live her life without him and yet she would endure such pain and worse for the 2 years of love and 3 months of marriage that they shared.
Sydney nor Mitch were particularly religious and yet Sydney articulated something that sits as the very beating heart of our faith; that for some reason, in this existence, inherent in the experience of love is pain… and yet, in the end, love prevails.
The archetypal visual imprint of this reality in the Christian psyche is the cross.
Whether Mitch and Sydney “knew Christ” in the traditional sense is largely semantics. That they knew the enduring power of Love is apparent and their lives – both this one and the next – are the better for it.
If someone you know is facing a cancer diagnosis you might want to check out Mitch Lortz’s blog at www.seriouslycancer.com