As you may already know, I am a bit of a health foodie. And if I’m honest, it’s not just because I like vegetables.
It’s also because I think that eating a certain way will help me stay disease-free and enjoy a long, active life. While this idea has some truth to it, it can provide a false sense of security.
My friend Jonathan was a 28-year-old farmer’s market patron when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last fall. His family didn’t see it coming, but when it did they couldn’t help asking why. He ate well. He exercised. What could they have done to prevent cancer? And what should they do to keep it from coming back?
Such questions are natural, but they can also be stifling. As Jonathan’s wife, Lesley, describes in an article she wrote for Her.meneutics titled “Choosing Life, When Cancer Fears Are Everywhere,” fretting about the causes of cancer (or any other disease for that matter) isn’t helpful for two reasons:
- Fear inhibits vitality. When we live in fear we are unable to think and act confidently and calmly. Ironically, fear suffocates its motivating source: the desire to live and to do so comfortably.
- Fear convinces us to seek control, even when it’s outside our reach. It tells us that we should act (or not act) in a certain way in order to avoid something, regardless of whether or not we have the ability to do so.