As you've probably worked out by now, words are my thing. So I'm probably more than averagely analytical of the words we use to shape and make sense of our stories. And I've discovered that since the word 'cancer' has entered my story, there is a particular set of language that has come along with it more than any other. That is, of course, the language of fighting battles, waging war, and kicking the enemy.
I say 'I've discovered'; actually, I need to qualify that a little. Thanks to my old mate the lovely Andrew Graystone, I had my eyes opened to this phenomenon several years ago, when cancer was a living reality for him, but - as far as I'm aware, anyway - not for me. He's written and broadcast his thoughts on the language we use about cancer and they're well worth a listen. I'd suggest getting yourself a drink and listening here before proceeding any further:
I clearly need to do a little thinking on this. Like Andrew, I'm basically a pacifist. War solves nothing, as far as I can see. I'm also committed to the way of loving enemies (even if I usually don't manage it), not "kicking their butts", as one of my least favourite Facebook memes of all time urges us to do to cancer. I'm not sure I'm at all prepared for the terrain I'm mapping out for this journey to turn out to be a war zone. And yet . . . there is something there behind the language of fighting that is important. Holding on to fragile hope requires it. So I want to thank the friends who are cheering me on to battle, and who are battling for me and with me, because I understand - at least I think I understand - what they mean when they say it, and I need to be reminded that the journey is strenuous, and there will be conflict to face.
I wonder if I can find my way through the language to something more helpful, more true to what I'm actually experiencing? More to follow soon.