Coping together

Published 4:35 pm Tuesday, August 7, 2018

On Monday noon I attended the first meeting of a spiritual class being led by Dr. Karl Kling, pastor at First Presbyterian Church. Based on the book titled “Cancer – Now What?” the class is for those who are providing care for a loved one suffering from this destructive disease.

One of the main messages I took from the meeting is that when we care for another, we are not doing it alone. God is always with us. We are his emissaries. But we are not God. We are not called upon to cure the patient, but to show the love of God through our daily prayer and care. The community of faith coming together offers loving support, be it with providing food, or driving the person to get treatments.

A classic example of that faith was recently demonstrated by the family of First Presbyterian Church while dealing with the months long illness and death of one of their beloved elders of the church, Cecil Culpepper. His funeral service was held just this past Sunday, Aug. 5.

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People always wonder what they should say to a cancer patient. One of the class members has a sister in the latter stages of cancer and she said the sister is questioning why is this happening to her? The big issue for the caregiver is how to handle such questions. It is hoped that answers will be provided through faith, but at the same time it is not always necessary to have answers. It is just enough to be present and listen to their concerns. Do not offer platitudes, but allow them to speak openly of their pain and fears.

Because of the high rate of cancer, several groups have formed locally to help both those who are patients and those who care for them. There is help out there for those who need it.

On Monday, Aug. 13, a Cancer Care Connect support group will hold a large dinner meeting at Southwest Baptist Church on Faceville Highway at 6 p.m. Speakers will be Dr. Charles Walker, local surgeon, and oncologist Dr. Gap. That group plans to continue to meet every second Monday of the month.

The Presbyterian group will meet again at noon on Monday, Aug. 20.