Last weekend, our faith community participated in the Springfield/Urban Core Relay for Life (RFL)through the American Cancer Society. I expected it to be a meaningful time of participation in an important cause, but I had no idea what was in store. As the Luminaria Chair, I spent much of the day directing people to remember their loved ones who've battled cancer by placing candle-lit bags in their honor. It was a moving experience. People could not write the name of their loved one without reflecting on the significance of their lives. There were tears shed, stories told and memories rekindled. It was as if seeing the name of that brother, sister, friend, husband, or wife opened the way to express some unspoken emotion that was just below the surface.
The occasion of RFL was an opportunity to reveal what lies just below the surface for each of us - the knowledge that we are all vulnerable to disease and death, the truth that we all walk around with unspoken pain and grief, and the reality that life is precious and to be lived to the fullest. It was also a reminder of the powerful help and healing that comes from surrounding ourselves by a community of people that believe things should be different. Together, we saw a day when there would be no more cancer-realted suffering, and it was a beautiful thing.