deleted emails and selfish prayers

July 5, 2010

I finally did it.  Six months later, I checked off the boxes next to about a dozen or so emails and clicked on the “delete” button.  Emails that all came from Leah Dettling, although most of them were written by her mom.  Emails that chronicled the rapid spread of cancer in Leah’s body, the prayer-fueled effort to fly her home to Chicago from Germany, and the last one, titled “Good-bye for now.”  I didn’t re-read them; I don’t really want to re-live the anxiety I felt as Leah endured her slow decline.

I don’t know exactly why it took me so long to delete them.  I do know why I deleted them when I did, though:  Another coworker, Cindy, had a cancerous brain tumor removed last week and is now undergoing radiation.  (For those of you who are keeping track, that is the fourth friend in about ten months to be diagnosed with cancer.  Insert grimace here.)  I simply don’t have the energy to continue to grieve for Leah when I have three friends who are waging war against cancer.  Besides, I know where Leah is now.  She is healthy and whole in the presence of her heavenly Father.  My other friends still need His help this side of life.

I find myself asking God to perform miracles for Joan, Emmett, and Cindy, but more for my sake than theirs.  The prayers sound something like this: “God, please heal my friends of their cancers, because I don’t think I can handle much more suffering among the people I love.”  But God still answers selfish prayers, doesn’t He?  I sure hope so, because that’s about all I can muster at the moment.



  1. Words seem inadequate to convey my sadness here Allison. I join you in praying for your friends’ healings. -Blessings, Bob

  2. Thanks for your prayers, Bob. And please pray that the rest of my friends will remain healthy!

  3. mate. what heavy stuff you’ve got going on. i feel like i need to come over and just tell you jokes for a whole afternoon. when i can afford a ticket, i shall do so! until then, thinking of you, keep staying where you and having the faith you have. it’s inspiring.

    missing you heaps.

  4. Thanks, Dani. Things have been a lot better lately. God has been showing me how to pray for my friends and to approach grief in a more manageable way, if that makes any sense. I’ve been meaning to write about that, and perhaps I will soon. Regardless, please come and tell me jokes for an afternoon. That would make my year. 🙂 Love you!

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