Taylor Swift has a song entitled, “The Other Side of the Door.” It’s a sweet/sad song about love gone wrong, a fight where the girl said “leave” and now regrets it. All she wants is for her man to come back and to stand on the “other side of the door” and beg to be let back into her life again.
I like Taylor Swift. I think she is pretty, very talented and looks doggone good in cowboy boots teamed with a frilly dress — something I could never pull off even when I was young and thin, which by the way, I used to be both!
But why am I thinking about Taylor Swift and her song, “The Other Side of the Door” this morning? Well, today, I have three doctor’s appointments — yes, count ’em, THREE! Not sure why I piled them all onto one day, but Jesus and I have a busy schedule today between my oncologist appointment at 10 am, my primary care physician at 1:30 and my plastic surgeon at 3:30.
Now whenever any of us go to our doctor’s appointment, there is a little sense of apprehension — I mean, REALLY, who wants to get naked in front of someone who isn’t your spouse? (If your answer is anything other than “not me,” please keep it to yourself!)
But for someone whose had cancer, it’s a different kind of adventure. That’s where Taylor Swift’s song comes in. At one point her lyrics say, “In the heat of the fight, I walked away, ignoring the words you were saying trying to make me stay. I said, ‘This time I’ve had enough’ and you’ve called a hundred times but I’m not picking up.”
I know it may sound strange, but that’s the way it is with cancer. Last year, I gave up the fear of cancer for Lent. In the heat of the fight, both Prince Philip and I walked away from cancer’s power and ignored it as it tried to get control over our lives. We’ve said over and over again, “we’ve had enough — LEAVE!”
Yet on a day like today, we who have had cancer are aware it likes to test our resolve. It likes to stop by and stand outside our door — like Taylor wants her old boyfriend to do. With each appointment, I know that cancer is standing just outside my door with a cell phone and trying to call my number. But dear ones, in the words of Taylor Swift’s song, “I’m not picking up!” I figure giving up fear for Lent was good for 2012 AND it’s good enough for 2013 also!
The Scripture that comes to mind is a pretty well-known one where Paul is admonishing the Corinthians church in his second letter. He’s talking to them about how to THINK and how critical it is that they understand that the greatest battle we wage is in our thought life.
In 2 Corinthians 10, he says, (in Eugene Peterson’s The Message),
“3-6 The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.”
Here’s my take on that Scripture as Jesus and I spend our day together at my doctor’s offices. The enemy stands on the other side of the door and he knocks to get in to my mind and emotions with his “warped philosophies” about cancer and recurrence and fear and well, you know.
My Christian response is not to wage war in a human way — using human reason and trying to push back against him with all my cancer knowledge or worse, to ignore that he’s out there hollering his falsehoods at me. My BEST RESPONSE is to stay tucked under the arm and close to the heart of my Jesus and to go with confidence by His side to each appointment. My best response is to use the power of the Holy Spirit to tear down anything — ANYTHING — that argues with what God says about me or about my future which I have committed to Him as a life of obedience and maturity.
So sing away, Taylor! If you want your man to come back and to stand on the other side of your door, that’s your choice.
But as for me and my house, cancer’s been kicked out and I’m not listening to anything he has to say, and if he rings the bell and says he has a delivery … I’m not answering the door!
Love to all today,
Cathie+ and Prince Philip
After more than 25 years in parish ministry, Rev. Cathie retired in early 2018 to pursue a quieter life with her husband Philip in the mountains of Central Oregon. Although no longer a leader in congregational life, she continues to follow her calling and passion to minister to those who suffer, especially those with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.