Finding Faith Isn’t Always Easy

OK, so here’s the thing.

I’m Catholic. Have been since day one. I’ve done my duty. Altar boy. Lector. Eucharistic minister. Heck, I’ve even been parish council president. I guess you’d think (at least I would) that some of my work would qualify me for a little clarity from the man upstairs. Well, if it does qualify me, let’s just say I haven’t seen any of the results yet.

I will be the first to tell you that I don’t agree with everything the Church stands for. However, part of the beauty (at least for me) of the Catholic Church is more than just the tradition. It’s also the mystery.

And, I’ve gotta tell you, finding faith has never been a problem for me. However, lately, it’s become more and more of a challenge. Like a serious challenge.


Well, quite frankly, you can blame cancer. I’m so done with cancer. I mean, seriously? What the hell is going on.

First, it was my Dad.

Then, Renee’s mentor and the mother of a friend of mine, Diane.

Then, a college friend, Janet.

It’s hard to find faith when one taken is your dad, another is someone your age that made you laugh incredibly and the third is an absolute mentor to your spouse and a role model for any woman.

I’m not trying to be selfish here. I mean, let’s face it. Cancer gets everyone. Nobody is immune.

But now, I struggle to find faith in light of the latest developments in my life.  Consider:

The daughter of Renee’s colleagues. Yup, she teaches with a husband and wife team. They have a daughter who is six. And, oh by the way, she has cancer. One day, the daughter says, “Mommy, I’ve got this bump on my back.” Well, yeah. The bump? A four-pound tumor that has since been removed. However, this poor kid, who should be worrying about her Halloween costume and other six-year-old stuff, is now in the midst of some serious chemo. She’s been given a 75 to 80 percent chance of survival.

And, hey, cancer. Did i mention, she’s um, 6. Yeah, I thought so. You cowardly bastard.

Freaders, I ask you to find faith for this little girl. And her parents. They need it.

What, one isn’t enough? No worries, here’s another.

A colleague at my work. More than a colleague. This gentleman (and for him there is no better word) is the absolute heart and soul of where I work. He is our shining star. He is goodness. He is compassion. He is joy. He is friendship. He is teacher. He is everything you can imagine and one you can’t.

Why? He is sick. Very sick. Like the rarest form of liver cancer sick. Like possibly only six months sick. Seriously? He is a man without children who has the biggest extended family you could ever imagine. I shouldn’t think like this, but I actually think, wow, his is going to be the most incredible funeral I ever go to. Find the biggest church around. Still not big enough.

This one is going to hurt when it happens. And, let’s face it cancer, you’re going to make it happen. No matter how hard we try, you don’t let us find a cure. But we will. For the six-year-old’s sake and for his sake.

So, freaders, please find faith for the heart and soul. The shining star. He is a man of unwavering loyalty, courage and optimism. Your faith will be a welcome addition to his life.

So here I am, this far into this post. And I haven’t even talked about the one that is going to affect me the most.

He’s my cousin. He’s my godfather. He’s my mentor. He’s my role model. He’s, well, he’s my guy.

A question about anything? I go to my guy. Advice? I go to my guy. Heck, even Sox tickets. I go to my guy.

I have lost my father and my oldest brother, yet my guy is probably the man that has had the most impact on my life.

He hasn’t always been the healthiest man alive, but now this? Another one with a rare form of liver cancer. And this, the third case I’m talking about here, came within a month of the other two. So, yeah, that thing about stuff happening in threes? It’s apparently true.

And, oh, my guy? He only has two daughters…one just out of college, one just in. He has an amazing wife. A great house. A fabulous business. Season tickets to the Pats on the 50. Season tickets to the Sox. He’s lived a good life.

But nobody deserves to have that said — “he’s lived a good life” — when he’s 52.

And, yes, I should be optimistic (or at least a little). But forgive me for not being that way. This isn’t anyone. This is my guy. And I know my guy needs my faith. And he needs yours, too.  

So, cancer, I ask you one question: what the fuck? I mean. Seriously. I. Don’t. Understand. I’m not even sure I want to understand.

But, you don’t make it easy to find faith. To find comfort. To find support. To find anything. And that’s why I hate you so much. Now more than ever. Because of the six-year-old. Because of the heart and soul. Because of my guy.

Because the thing about you, cancer, that I hate more than anything. When you took my dad, my friend and Renee’s mentor, you took a piece of me with you.

And with these three — your latest victims — I’m worried that if you take even more of me, that there won’t be a lot left.

11 Comments on “Finding Faith Isn’t Always Easy”

  1. fritz says:

    please tell me the heart and soul isnt who i think it is…if it is, i do not have a good answer as to where to find faith, i usually find it in the most mundane, unexpected places…

  2. Carrie says:

    I’m there with you on this Cancer thing. 52 is way too young, ask me I know. It took my Dad, MY GUY at 54. It takes a part of your heart each and every time.

    Please know I am here for you because I know, I understand what it means to have your guy and your Dad taken away. Take strength from those around you, those you love and that love you, let them help you get through this.

    Because that is where we beat this ugly, unfeeling, horrific monster of a disease, we beat it because we love in our hearts and in our souls. Share with them, tell them how much they mean, how much you love them, enjoy the time. Don’t dwell – that’s when Cancer wins, when you let it steal more moments.

    Make the memories, hug, laugh and love. For while our loved ones have battles to fight (and more lose than win it seems), it is when we love that we win the war.

    Its in our love for them that we find our strength, our courage, and our faith.

  3. well mike, i just have no words that i think would comfort you. I heard about our friend, it saddens me to no end. I am heart broken. and you are right there is no church large enough!

    I know cancer has hit your family and mine too. Both my grandfather, my father last year having half his kidney removed, and a dear friend with breast caner….I understand your pain, I remember five years ago when my friend had her baby and they discovered three months later she had trilateral retinal blastoma, basically she has tumors in both her eyes and her brain. Then two years ago my friend found out she was pregnant again, and this two day old baby was having chemo….both babies survied but have lost a lot of sight. their chances are good but not great….Cancer is not fair, but we have each other. We have love and with that will come the courage and faith we are looking for.

  4. pie says:

    Faith is a tricky thing. I had to try and find it when a new mom lost her son after only 16 minutes with him. Why would our god do that and why would he give so many people in your life fuckingcancer? I don’t understand it, and i don’t want to. What I will do is add your friends and family to the list of people I pray for every single day and hope that it helps. Because that’s all you can do. Hope.

  5. Sara says:

    “Faith is for people who fear hell, spirituality is for people who have been there”. You keep finding the strength to get through these losses and to be there for the others that are grieving along with you. That is your spirit, and even cancer can’t touch your spirit.

  6. Pessimistic Redhead says:

    This is so sad. And so, so true.

    I’ll be thinking of these 3 special people.

  7. Molly says:

    You know my thoughts on cancer. And if it’s who I think you’re talking about, I just teared up at my desk. Please send all my love his way.

  8. No, finding faith isn’t easy in times such as these. I understand the dichotomy between one’s faith and attempting to make sense of all the hurt,pain and loss. Sorry seems pathetic right now but I am so sorry about all the loved ones you’ve lost as well as those you know who are battling this devastating disease. I’ve already said a prayer and I will continue to do so.

  9. JenBun says:

    Mike, if I could send you part of myself to help make you whole, I would.

    As I was reading, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” came on. Fortuitous, no? (Or not. I mean, it is in heavy rotation on my player sometimes.)

    But I wanted to say it to you: don’t stop believing. Now more than ever.

    If you can’t find your faith, I’ll give you mine. For the six year old. For the heart and soul. For your guy. For YOU.

    “Some will win. Some will lose. Some were born to sing the blues…”

    I want you to win.

  10. JC says:

    I have a friend.

    Stage 4 cancer survivor.

    Was that ” 1 ” in 100,000.

    Very Lucky.

    Stroke survivor too.

    Had to re-learn how to play guitar….and did it.

    The only time he doesnt feel pain is when he’s playing guitar. So….he plays guitar a lot. 🙂

    Just wanted you to know….those 1 in 100,000 exist and do walk the earth.

    I’ve lost a few to Cancer and know that the future doesnt look so bright that i wont be impacted by it again.

    We all have 2 choices in life.
    Get busy livin.
    And get busy dyin.

    And, the fact that kids have to struggle and suffer with cancer – I wish I could touch them and make them better. But I don’t have that ability.

    I hope someone with that ability could help us with that.

  11. Melissa says:

    I started to type this big long comment, but it kind of can just be summed up as “No, it’s not” in response to Finding faith isn’t always easy.
    Sometimes it just sucks. Bad.

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