On October 2nd, 2007, I was diagnosed with cancer.
I wasn’t shocked. I wasn’t even scared really. I knew - just knew - from the very first minute I heard the words - that I was going to be ok.
It’s a long story, but let me tell a little bit of it - in 2006, I still worked at the same job I’d been at for 8 1/2 years - I was in marketing at a financial services company, doing credit card solicitations and the like. It was a good job, but not exactly work that made you feel like you were making a difference in the world. Not even close.
Late in 2006, I was let go from that job. I had a few months between when they notified me and when my severance pay ran out, so of course, I started sending out resumes for open positions. One of those resumes went to the place I work today - a laboratory that specializes in pathology - cancer diagnosis. They called me in for an interview. They hired me, despite the fact I had ZERO - NO - experience in healthcare or laboratory services…I had the marketing background, but I would have to learn the healthcare industry from the ground up (and I have.) I started here on January 6, 2007. Almost exactly 9 months later, I found out I had cancer - the very type of cancer that the CEO and founder of my company is the preeminent expert in the country on.
So, on that day I was diagnosed with cancer, a thousand thoughts ran through my head. But they all came back to the same conclusion - I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was going to be ok. God had led me to this place in my life and He was going to be there with me every step of the way.
I can’t say I’ve always had the deep faith that I have today. I’ve gone back and forth - I was raised as a casual churchgoer - my parents took my sister and I most Sundays, but that was pretty much as far as religion went in our house. I came to God - really committed to Him - later in life, through my wife’s faith and also because of Paramore.
Now I know that might sound a little strange. Paramore isn’t an overtly Christian band - they are Christians in a band (and there’s a difference.) They don’t spend a lot of time talking about their faith in public (although Hayley has written about her personal faith in the band’s LiveJournal.) But I believe that every person needs role models for their faith. And, for me, they have been - and continue to be - some of my strongest role models on my faith journey.
When I saw, from the first days I met them, their faith, something inside me woke up. As I watched them grow as a band and as people and have success - and still stay true to their faith and their beliefs - it helped support me and made my faith even stronger. And in more personal moments, they’ve helped me in ways that I can never possibly repay them for.
And so, when I found out on October 2nd that I had cancer, I realized that this was where God had been leading me for the last year. He took me out of my former job, He led me to this one where he knew I would have access to the best treatment and the best doctors in the country - He had been watching over me up to this point and there was no doubt in my mind that I would be cured and He would be there at my side through it all.
I know some people would call it a coincidence or just luck - but that’s not what I believe. I believe God leads us all on certain paths in life - He has led Paramore to where they are today - to a place where they have helped so many through their music and in so many other ways to get through moments much darker than what I’ve described here. And just as He led me to them in 2005 so my faith would continue to grow, He led me to my current job so that the cancer I had would be cured.
And it was. I had surgery early in 2008 and I’ve been cancer-free ever since.
So, why “Miracle” as today’s song? The line “it’s not faith if you use your eyes” is one reason. 2 Corinthians 5:7 - “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” When I first heard this line in “Miracle”, I loved the song instantly. And as I went through my cancer treatment in late 2007 and early 2008, it was this song I took with me, more than any other. It reminded me - always - that God was there with me, beside me through it all. I could “see” Him all around me in my life, but not with my eyes…I knew He was there through my faith - intuitively, emotionally - through my heart. He had led me to this point - to my wife, to this band, to these doctors - and I had absolute faith that He would show me the right path to go down next. I prayed - a lot - but I knew, even if I couldn’t see it right that second, even when the treatment options overlapped and became confusing - I knew that He would show me the way. And He did.
And then there’s this:
“I’m not going ‘cause I’ve been waiting for a miracle And I’m not leaving. I won’t let you, let you give up on a miracle When it might save you.”
Those lyrics reminded me - still remind me - every single time I hear them - of all the people I have in my life who love and support me. Who weren’t going to let me give up or get depressed. With the cancer, I knew that I was going to be fine from the minute I heard the diagnosis. But that’s not always true, in my life or anyone’s. There are moments when I don’t see the path so clearly, when I have no idea what God intends for me to do. And in those moments, I pray - because I know He’s “not leaving” - and I turn to the people who love me - my friends and my family - because I know they won’t ever, ever let me give up.
I said back on the first day when I started writing this that Paramore changed my life. And they have. But it’s not just their songs or seeing them play live or hanging out with them after shows…they have forever deepened and strengthened my faith in God and Jesus Christ. And for that, more than anything else they’ve given me, I am so incredibly grateful.