Money Won't Buy Her Time

The limousine carefully nosed into the cancer center’s circle drive. Most patients arrive by family car or a shuttle bus. Heads turned to observe the long, white limo with darkened windows. 

The driver hustled to the passenger door and offered his gloved hand (seriously, a gloved hand) to the meticulously dressed woman.

I was just inside the main doors as her entourage entered. Not dallying, or looking at anyone else, the woman, who appeared to be in her mid-fifties, forged ahead to the row of elevators. There she had to wait with the rest of us. She dictated orders to a woman I assumed was her secretary.

When we exited on the same floor, I suspected we’d be sharing the waiting room. The front desk fitted her with the regulation plastic ID bracelet. The medical tag contrasted starkly with her diamond-studded cuff bracelet.

She then commandeered a section of the waiting room, and soon her secretary and other staff members were making calls and conducting business. The woman waved her arms dramatically as she directed her personal orchestra—her face fixed in a permanent scowl.

A nurse quietly interrupted the woman’s business and escorted her back to the exam room. Her staff remained focused on their electronic devices as if monitored by the watchful eye of their boss. But I knew something they probably didn’t know—what goes on in the exam rooms.

That’s where a cotton gown becomes the great equalizer and test results don’t change because of a bank balance. Rich or poor, cancer is no respecter of persons. She might have sparkling diamonds and a dutiful staff, but she’d never be able to buy her way out of a terminal illness.

While I hoped she’d get good news, over half of those who walk through those doors do not. Cancer steals life but it’s also a bold reminder to treasure the days we have.  Diamond cuffs and limousines can’t measure up to the treasure of loving others.

Stepping outside into the bright skies, I thanked God for another “clean” check-up. As I walked to catch the streetcar, the limo passed by. The darkened windows hid the woman from view, but I remembered her frown and bickering demands. Perhaps her doctor told her what he told me— it’s not how long we live, but how well we live each day we have.

According to the American Cancer Society in 2014 there will be another 1,665,540 cancer cases diagnosed. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US— one in every four. Chances are you know someone dealing with this disease. America's churches are beginning to get more involved in helping care for the hurting and scared hearts of cancer's victims— both the patient and the families. For more information on starting an outreach program visit Our Journey of Hope

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