Yesterday, while sitting next to him, I listened as Sven the Dragon Slayer introduced himself. I had read about Sven but had never met him before. We were both waiting for blood draws for our respective cancers. Sven calls his cancer a "Dragon". And he offered to give me a sword with which to fight my own cancer. Sven looks like a Dragon Slayer. He's big! He looks as if he could have been a mighty man in the day of Dragon Slayers.
At first I was taken aback because my mind treats words literally. (I can't help it...it's the way my mind works.) It often takes some cogitation on my part before I can jump from the literal to the poetical. It's not that I "dislike" poetical...it's just that sometimes it takes a few moments to shift my mental gears to the poetical mode.
You see, when he mentioned his Dragon, my first thought was, "No, this is not some flimsy literary game, this is Cancer. Cancer with a Capital C. Cancer is Cancer. Cancer is not a dragon. To think cancer is a "dragon" is to make a game of it and it's a silly game in my estimation." I didn't speak those words, but that is what I was thinking.
Do you see how my mindset can be sometimes seen as rigid, inflexible, and a real killer of conversation? I kill a lot of conversations that way. You'd think by this time of my life I'd have figured this out and stop such killings. But, no, the killing of conversations is an ongoing thing in my life. Maybe someday.....
And so, by the time I cogitated about Sven's naming of his cancer as the "Dragon", the phlebotomist had drawn his blood and Sven had left and gone home. I wasn't able to respond. I hope to see him again for he is known to be a Dragon Slayer in the local cancer community. You can read about him in the City paper. Sven has dealt with five different cancers in the past eight years. He's fought bravely and he's fought alongside others fighting the same Dragon. But in the moment, I was not able to respond...my mind is slow.
Later that afternoon (I told you I was slow) I remembered Revelation 12:9 wherein we read, "And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." And it clicked.
That "ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan", is the same who deceived Eve in the beginning. Adam's disobedience to God (and obedience to Satan) brought death, disease, and destruction upon us all. Cancer is simply another part of that death that comes to us ever since "the fall". Living in this time and place we're going to deal with death until Christ puts a final and complete end to the work of the Dragon and to "death" itself.
I'm reminded of Rev. 21:3-4 wherein Jesus tells John in regards to His final destruction of death: "..... Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
In the meantime we wait. We fight the Dragon, that ancient Deceiver, that ancient Accuser of the Brethren (Rev. 12:10). And we fight with the Sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). And we live in the great hope in Jesus' promise that there will come a day when the Dragon will be no more. Death will be no more. Cancer will be no more. And we will dwell in the presence of our Lord.
(Disclaimer: "To all who love the gentle, talking Dragons of modern literary device, I am not speaking of such dragons. Nope. I recognize poetry when I see it." she said with a wry smile. )
And Today's Word of the Day: Cogitate - transitive verb: to ponder or meditate, usually intently