Living Between Shoes

Waiting for the other shoe to drop – “Waiting for a related announcement or event to occur after an initial announcement or situation. When waiting for the other shoe to drop, one expects a pending situation to occur that is dependent upon an initial event.”

Living with cancer is living between shoes.

After my first chemo regimen—six rounds in four months—I had three clear scans. I got a cancer survivor certificate from my oncologist, a party from my family, and the obligatory T shirt.


But cancer is one badass disease that doesn’t like to be taunted. A few months later the lymphoma returned, which meant more serious chemo and a bone marrow transplant. Not something to put on your bucket list.

I’ve had one clear scan since then with a second scheduled for next month. My odds of remaining free of cancer symptoms—not cancer free—for the next five years are 50/50, which are 100% better than if I hadn’t had the transplant.

The specter of cancer casts a shadow but not a cloud for me. It puts life in perspective but not morbidly so. It helps me savor the mundane and be more present in the moment. It makes me more thankful for the gifts bestowed by everyday providence.

I vacillate between “Providence” and “providence,” not sure how much to ascribe to divine intervention. God is the author of all possibilities but as to specifics, if you give him credit for blessings, consistency requires he be held culpable for evil. These are two sides of the same coin; one that religious people don’t flip very often.

There are things in this world that don’t make moral sense, sickness and suffering among them. Every religion tries to explain death and the pains preceding it. Some do a more coherent job than others but all rely on a fair amount of interpretative speculation. We know less than we claim.

One thing we do know is that everyone dies. The other shoe always drops. It can be unexpectedly swift and loud as in an auto crash or excruciatingly slow and silent as with cancer. Each way has its pluses and minuses—not that we get to choose. Either way, gravity wins in the end.

But is it the end?

I think not.


5 thoughts on “Living Between Shoes

  1. Hi Mike, Always enjoy reading your thoughts. Connie is retiring June 30th so maybe that road trip will happen so we can have a face to face. Katie had her third child early June. Grace Isabel which the twins have changed to Gracie Lu Lu.That makes 3 kids currently under two. Bill has one 16 months, Liam. Katies are 750 miles away so we see them periodically in person but quite regularly on Skype. Liam we see all the time Life is full although it is about to change.Connie will be able to see how I spend all my time and I’m sure my reading habits will change. I spent two days with Steve VanSlyke last week at a conference in Cleveland. The main draw was Alister Begg and you’d like him Mike. He stated that he wouldn’t pay 10 bucks to hear a Christian Artist but would part with 50 to go hear James Taylor. It was a refreshing time and good to get caught up with Steve. Say hello to Susan and the family and thanks for the friendship. Larry

  2. Dear Mike, How I enjoyed reading your wisdom and hearing your faith. I so enjoy savoring the memories of Laurel Park and listoning to your wisdom then. Both then and now shows your commitment to the Lord and the courage to run the race. Greg is turning 60 on Dec 14th. I am putting together a photo book with birthday wishes, if you would like to send one, use the email attached to this comment. I have to have it by Sunday the Nov. 22nd. (but if you are later than that I’ll make sure he gets it!) NC has been a good move for all of us and if you are ever close know that our door is always open to you and yours. Lord Bless, Gwen

    1. So good to hear from you, Gwen. Jon and Diane Marks were here a few weeks ago and we got caught up on as many scattered LPers as we could, and you and Greg came up. We had some good times back then!

      What are you doing married to a 60-year-old!

      I’ll get you a photo and greeting by Sunday to pass along to the old guy.

      Mike —– Original Message —–

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