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A wieght lifted, A secret revealed: A Nesseth family meeting

I was playing outside with my friends one afternoon after school when I was rudely interrupted by a mandatory family meeting. I was irritated. I knew the rules. You did your homework, your chores and then you were permitted to play outside until dinner. Yes, we were around the dinner table, yet there was no food. I sat, peeved and impatient waiting for whatever was so important that could justify interrupting my precious play time.

My Mom had been pacing around, looking restless and bothered. My dad sat close looking calm and stoic as usual, yet there was an opposite feeling, visible and bubbling on his inside.  My brother and sister sitting with my same confused half nervous look of anticipation.

My Mom had anointed herself the meeting’s speaker. After a couple of awkward rounds of the typical after school mom to children questions, we finally arrived at the meeting’s purpose.  My mom with a large swallow told us the news as bravely as any person could. She looked me right in the eye, now I knew I was the focus, I could only assume I was in trouble. I was wrong. She told me that the doctor called while I was at school, the biopsy results had come back and the tumor was malignant.

My eleven year old mind did not understand the word “malignant”. I, of course, asked curiously for a clarification. My poor mom had been working up the courage all day to tell me this news, once had been enough. This time the tears could not be held back anymore, she choked out, “Chris you have cancer”.

I took this in for a moment. At eleven you don’t understand the severity of the word cancer. She might as well have had said malignant again or you have antidisestablishmentarianism. I just knew she had said the word doctor and I could see her tears. I assumed that whatever cancer was, I had it and it wasn’t good. I looked up at my brave mother. Still trying her absolute hardest to hold it all in, she was close to overflowing, the emotions ready to boil over.

I asked her if they could fix it. I asked her in a very matter of fact way, very calmly and genuinely curious. She told me, well yes. I looked at her baffled. Then what was the big deal? If they could fix it, then why was I inside when I could be outside playing?

I don’t think she could handle how well I took it. I clearly didn’t understand. I clearly didn’t see the severity. I clearly didn’t hear that sometimes death sentence of a word. I could see this, that she was not taking it so well. That it made it worse that I didn’t think anything of it, other than I was annoyed about more doctor visits. Somehow my eleven year old mind knew to tell my mother what I had learned in school that day. I said, “Mom, you know what Mrs. Junion told us in class today? She told us that God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle.”

The tears came harder. Though this time beneath her eyes beaten by a phone call and the anticipation and the burden of having to share this news with all of us and worst of all with me, there was a smile. There was laughter. I believe in that moment, she knew I was right. That we aren’t given anything we can’t handle and there was a few seconds of relief. I could see that I had achieved my goal of easing my mom’s clear discomfort. Which was a half selfish ploy; I saw my moment and promptly asked if I could go back outside to play. She smiled and nodded with the only energy she had left.

Obviously I survived as I am writing these words thirteen years later and after that moment, it was never as hard as it was then. We knew. My mother knew, my father knew, my sister and my brother knew (brave themselves for the attention I took from them) and I knew that there really is nothing we are given that we can’t handle. If you see my family today there isn’t one of us who doesn’t know this, who doesn’t understand this. Anyone who knows any one person in my family knows that each and every one of us is strong and successful. It has taken many moments around a dinner table in Iowa that have made us who we are today.

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20 thoughts on “A wieght lifted, A secret revealed: A Nesseth family meeting

  1. wow that is truly inspirational! i can also agree that god does not give us anything which we will not be able to handle either ourselves or with our families.
    what a strong person you must be! i know that i have had to make my way through things which have challenged me, but in the back of my mind i will make it through!
    keep fighting, keep smiling x

    • Thank you for reading!

      It is the truth, challenges come and go, that is a certainty.

      You are right, keep fighting and keep smiling, if you are doing that how bad can it really be?

      • challenges make us who we are and therefore eventually push us in the right direction 🙂 i think that we are able to move forward after we learn from the challenges we face!
        yeah i mean wear a smile on your face and think that you are still able to face another day, another challenge and move forward 🙂

  2. Illness is hard. Thank you for your inspiration. prayers & blessings!

  3. What a truly inspirational post! And to go through it all so young. You’re a great example of faith, I really admire people with your attitude 🙂

  4. orchid on said:

    what a story! i don’t know if i have a courage like you to face such experience early in life..and here you are today, sharing this inspirational post..

    all the best to you..smile..

    • The key was ignorance. At eleven you aren’t exactly sure what people are telling you. Today the experience would be much different. I believe the same outlook would be required to get through it. I believe unwavering optimism gets you a long way!

      Thanks for reading!

  5. Heather on said:

    Moving writing. Thanks for sharing.

  6. A cancer survivor, …


    My cousin died from ALS and his wife is trying to survive the last stage of lung cancer. My uncle died from lung cancer just recently. My aunt and another uncle died from Leukemia a few years back.

    I don’t believe that God don’t give to us what we can’t handle.

    Whether we can handle it or not, what is there is there. Although, for an eleven years old to say that you were quite mature religiously.

    If we survive, we thank God. If we don’t survive, do we still thank God?

    If credit is given, can discredit be given?

    Thanks for an inspirational post.

    • I am sorry to hear that.

      I hope she survives the lung cancer and has her own inspirational story to tell.

      If you don’t survive, you get to thank God yourself. ( we hope )

      Thanks for reading.

      • I went to church on one regular day and I saw a lot of people. They were mainly old people.

        My mom told me,

        “You see that they are mainly old people. It’s like they don’t really have anything else to do. Being sick, layoffs, and free time drive people to church. You don’t see many young people here. When God has blessed one with good fortunes and health, one steers away from God. When one has been down to sickness and poverty, one turns to God. That’s why in life we should often pray more and ask for more well beings.”

        I listened but didn’t tell her.

        “It’s not that young people steer away from God. Why is it that when one is at the lowest one thinks of God? It’s because God is hope. If people already have what they hope for, what’s the use of praying? To maintain such good things?”

        Keep believing like you should.

        Continue to write.


    • Handling it is a choice. You choose to handle the path of life . What sort of journey will you have? a struggle? or one of acceptance?

      Mother of “Handsomeloverofwords”

      so sorry for all the challenges life has thrown all of you —
      peace of the lord be with you all

  7. God bless you and thank you for the encouragement today! 🙂 I’m so glad you are here to write about it!

  8. earthangel68 on said:

    I’m glad you reached out and led me to your March 1st blog entry. Thank you for reminding me that Jesus has already overcome the World, and we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us!

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