Do you gotta have faith?

Sorry for the delay.  I went golfing two weeks ago and tore something in my upper thigh. It was extremely ouchy and I didn’t feel like writing. But at least it had nothing to do with cancer.

Several well-intentioned people have encouraged me to embrace Jesus Christ as part of my cancer journey. One reader observed I never write about the role of faith in my life and looming death.

Faith is earned. I have faith in my oncologists. I have faith in my radiologist, my surgeons, my nurses, my pharmacist and my counsellors. They all helped me live longer. I have faith my palliative care team will help me through my final footsteps.

After years of surgery and chemo and radiation burns and pain, I have a hard-won faith in my own body. To paraphrase E.E. Milne, I was stronger than I knew.

Above all, I have faith Robin will guide Will toward a fine life. That’s the belief I treasure the most.

Many people pray for me. I appreciate their efforts. Knowing that other people care about me is spiritually uplifting and therefore medically beneficial. I feel stronger. Thank you.

But I have to continue to believe what I always have.

I am a secular humanist. I believe we can achieve ethical, kind co-habitation, based on science, not superstition. It incorporates some of the teachings of prophets like Christ, Buddha and Muhammad (image not available).

I admit, my internal monologues sometimes turn into dialogues with unseen powers. “If you’re there, I would love to go camping one more time.” But is that faith, or bargaining? I refuse to be a death-bed convert, finding God one second before midnight. If that’s not hypocritical, it is certainly convenient.

Of course, I may be wrong. I often am. Fortunately, if God really exists, I’m confident he’ll look at my overall record and let me slide on the faith/skeptic issue. It just sounds like the kind of decent thing he’d do.

PS. If you are interested in my cancer story but don’t have time to read the past blogs, read this terrific article just published in Post Media newspapers across the country. Jana G. Pruden did a fine job weaving our family’s story together and explaining why I write this blog. Here’s a link to her story.


5 thoughts on “Do you gotta have faith?

  1. I just love that you haven’t been writing because you had a sports injury. Also, the sharing of the faith bit. We all know the feeling of faith, however it manifest is personal. Onward, my friend.

  2. Been reading all the stories about you in the last few months Mike. Just heard of your passing and came to see what your last post was about. Wonderfully inspiring. Great proof that you fought and stayed positive with the hope for a better future for humanity. You will have left a timeless mark on many many people and inspired many to stay positive through their health battles.

    I can only imagine how much it will mean to your son when he reads all your posts and interviews when he’s older. The world will miss you Mike!

  3. I am so sorry for you and your son’s great loss——im believing that before his death his death he found peace and his heart was right with God !May Jesus be especially near you Robin and your son Will .Reach out HE will be there!

  4. I am not able to thank Mike as I would have liked. By chance I located his blog recently only to discover it was .. .really, really too late.

    Perhaps I might pass on condolescences to Mikes’ Wife, Son and all the family, including his own Mother as well as his many friends (and especially Kim). I knew Mike at university and we kept in touch for some time afterwards despite desperate lives in very different locations. Last time we saw each other Mike was travelling around europe with a friend. As the trip progressed, they found they had little in common with each other. What really bothered Mike was that it was really only through spending so much time together did it become apparent that they did not share the same sense of humour -despite sitting next to each other on the bus for days at a time as they toured the europe. This really highlighted to Mike that laughter was a priority in his life and for every relationship in future. Then we lost touch with each other as do so many other university friends, each of us moving to different locations for various jobs.

    Mike was a talented and bright student at university. He had bags of energy, wit, kindness, humanity, integrity and intelligence and he was naturally funny, and easily able to keep us in stitches. Mike and Kim worked together on the Martlet, the student newspaper, giving long hours of their student lives, committed as they were to journalism, and inseperable as a team. They gave up much of their free time to work for the good of many an unappreciative student without ever considering it a hair shirt exercise. Much of their days were spent laughing, hunched over coffee at their desks, musing over the absurd and ridiculous in life as deadlines loomed.Through-out university Mike was a great communicator – just as he remains so through-out his life and career.

    Mike writes in his blog not only with insight about his own experiences as his health deteriorated but gave a realistic fortaste of what we all have ahead of us (in some way or another). Mike considers the more profound aspects of mortality with the lightest of touches. So while I am sorry there was no recent opportunity to say either hello again or goodbye, nevertheless, thank-you Mike for your friendship and the many memories you have left for so many. I am profoundly grateful that Mike and Robin met with time enough together for some very happy years and while all too short a marriage in the scheme of life, thankfully, Mikes wish to become a father was fulfilled. It is also humbling that so many people have been able to support Mike and Robin and all of the members of the family, and doubtless will continue to do so as the years pass. Clearly Mike was a much loved husband, father, friend and person. What more valuable gift could anyone leave behind when parting but an imprint of a life worth living?

    With kindest thoughts to all those missing Mike, grieving his loss and mourning his absence.


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