The doorbell rings. It is Don from church dropping off two prayer flags. One is for his son who lost his battle with esophageal cancer in 2008.
There is a knock on my office door. It’s Patty dropping off a flag in honor of her husband who is a cancer survivor.
I go to get the mail and there is a flag from Randy. Randy’s brother Allen lost his life to cancer. His flag says “play some mountain music” I wonder to myself, Allen must have liked county music, I will have to ask Randy about that. At my 80’s party fundraiser Jennifer, Suzie and Amy all sat around a table and decorated flags for family and friends.
There are 26 flags on my table and I know of several more on the way. All will be carefully packed in my back pack. Some of the flags representing one person, several flags with multiple people’s names on them. There are 17 names on the flag Dixie dropped off the other day.
Tonight I took the time to make my own flag. I wonder how I am going to decorate it in a meaningful way. Then I remember a book my dear friend Gretchen made for me while I was going through chemo. This special book is made up of inspirational bible verses that people had sent to me prior to my first chemo. Gretchen took all of those bible verses and lovingly made a scrapbook of inspiration for me. As I picked up this scrapbook, a card fell out…. It read “for I know the plans I have for you,” declares The Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.
I knew THAT was what had to be on my flag.
Four years ago almost to the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I couldn’t climb a flight of stairs without being winded. Now four years later, I am carrying 26+ flags honoring people who have battled cancer and won, some who have lost their lives to this disease, and still others who are in the midst of the battle.
The words of that bible verse play over and over in my mind. “I know the plans I have for you” “Plans to give you hope” Those words will stay with me as I carefully carry each of these flags representing so many people whose lives have been affected by cancer with me on the Inca Trail and to Machu Picchu. I pray that it gives people hope!