Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sunday Guest Post Series: J. Scott Bronson's Playing Catch With Jesus

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Cancer.

The big C, to some.

A terrible fright for most.

Not so, for me. Not any more anyway. And all because of a little game of catch.

The first time I got cancer turned out to be a nearly year long event that began in the Fall of 2000 with a discovery and ended at the beginning of September 2001 with something less than a resounding victory. Yes, we felt we’d won–or hoped it at least--but it took nearly dying to accomplish it. Chemo was not fun. Turned me into a great big Pillsbury doughboy. Minus the chef’s hat. The thing with chemo is that it’s a three way race to see if chemo can kill the cancer before the cancer - or chemo - can kill you. Apparently it was a close race in my case. Someone told me that I looked like death warmed over. A cliche, yes, but apt, I think.

Through it all, though, there was little fear or dread on my part. If it was my time to go, I felt ready for it. I was relatively calm. My wife and kids on the other hand...

The second time I got cancer...I was not ready to die. I had spent nearly a year recovering from the first ordeal and making plans for being a survivor. I was attached to those plans. I wanted to see them through. Cancer was a huge impediment at this point. And what’s more, for some reason this time, it was also quite terrifying.

I was in a situation at work that was untenable and there may have been some other things going on that made the situation at this particular time all so anxiety-ridden, but I can’t pinpoint what those things might have been; the fear of cancer is paramount in my mind as the one great enemy of my days then.

After many days of this anxiety, I finally made a heartfelt appeal on my knees. I told God that I was fairly certain of the process for making His son’s atonement work for me in the expurgation of my sins, but that I was at a total loss as to how the atonement worked in the deliverance from the pain and sorrow and grief of every day heartaches and other illnesses of the soul that come, not because of sin or rebellion, but because of ... well, just because.

“I am unaware of any process to put into play here, Father. How is it accomplished? I’ve been taught that the atonement covers this sort of thing. But how? What do I do? What do I do?”

After a bit of consideration, I said, “Here’s what I think–I hope–will work. I’m going to take all this worry–this pain–this anxiety, all this fear and terror, and roll it all up into a ball and I’m going to toss it up to you. Will that work? Is that all I need to do? Because I don’t think I can get through another day like this. I’m kinda goin’ crazy here and I need to get rid of this stuff. So, here–here it is, take it. I’m tossing it as high as I can. Please catch it. It’s yours now.”

And I did it. I rolled it all up and threw it into the air. At least I pictured myself doing that. Then I took a deep breath and went to work.

And then it was as if a gentle rain followed me everywhere I went that day. The mud and muck of fear and uncertainty dissolved under that warm and friendly downpour slowly but persistently as the day went on. And by the time I went to bed that night my heart and my mind were calm and peaceful. And have been–on the subject of cancer–ever since.

I’ve had cancer two more times since then. Without concern or worry. At all. This August it will have been seven years since the last recurrence. Each year the odds decrease that the cancer will return, but it doesn’t matter. I just don’t care any more.

Turns out, Jesus is pretty good at a game of catch. But it’s a short game. He doesn’t toss the ball back.



J. Scott Bronson is a (slightly past) middle-aged man from San Diego with one wife, five children a mortgage and a cat (to which he is allergic). He is an actor/playwright/director, a cancer survivor and a couch potato. He loves most kinds of music and Big Macs, pizza and Cap'n Crunch. And it shows.


84 comments:

Jenny said...

I've never commented on your blog before, though I have read you for years now.

This post moved me beyond belief. To tears. To my soul. The visualization of this "game of catch" is so fitting, and one I will now, I'm sure, use often. Thank you Courtney, for letting others share their stories here, but also for your profound/funny/wise/happy/crazy insights that I come back for every day.

Carry on, sister. :)

Trish and Greg said...

That IS the hardest thing to do. Let go, and let God ~ as one of my good friends likes to say. It's hard because I think I own the control, and the solution, and the burden of my struggles, be they physical, emotional, financial, or whatever. I can recognize and work on giving up my obvious 'sins', but this pride thing is hard to release. And that's what this is. Pride: to presume that I will always know the best solution.

Jess Frost said...

We lost my dad to liver cancer this Monday just passed (Feb 21st) and it's been really hard. Thanks for the inspiration to 'play catch' with the Lord. You're words mean alot to me and to hear someone who battled through it them-self write those words gives me strength that me, someone who's been left behind because of cancer, can get through it as well. Much love to you.

http://aheartfulloffrost.blogspot.com/

Delfina von U. said...

Unbeleivable post.Thank you!

Forty and Trying to be Fab said...

I can relate to this wonderful post in a very personal way. I lived many years in fear that I would lose my husband. You see when we were 27 he had a stroke. We were shocked and they never found a cause thus there was no way to prevent it happeing again.

For a very long time every second of every minute of every hour of every day I waited for it to happen again. I had three small children and was paralyzed with the fear.

I am now 40 and it has been a long process of turning my fear over to god knowing that he is the one in control.God bless you.

leigh said...

Wow...I needed to read this post. I am not battling something as scary as cancer but I have my own set of worries that I need to toss up. Thank you for this.

Rain In My Head said...

Wow. That was beautiful and powerful. I love the image of throwing your burdens, whatever they may be, to the Lord. I have wondered many times myself how to take full advantage of the atonement in my life. Thank you for sharing.

Whimcees said...

Your words have touched my heart. God Bless you Scott. Stay strong.

Wishing you everything good.

Barbara Diane

dalene said...

Wow--I continue to be blown away by your Sunday guest posts, C. Jane. Thank you.

J. Scott, having been on the wife end (and the daughter end, and time and time again on the friend end), every time cancer strikes again I say "there are no words." But you found some powerful words--a powerful image--and it touches my heart. Next time I feel my world come crashing down around me I'm going to roll it all up in a ball...

Thank you for sharing this part of your story. I wish you and your family well.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that turning one's problems over to God is harder for men than it is for women.

That's because nobody thought of rolling it into a ball and throwing it. What a quintessential guy way to do it. LOVE IT!

Bless you for sharing - that was amazingly uplifting.

Danielle said...

Thanks. This was so good.

Christine said...

Such a beautiful post... and beautiful writer. Thank you for sharing. I really enjoyed reading this story.

veronicachugg said...

I love it. Thank you for sharing your story, which left me with chills.

tammy said...

AMAZING and very moving post! Thank you for sharing your experience and an amazing lesson and reminder that we can carry with us each day...that God will carry our pain and worry if we will give it to him.

Loretta a/k/a Mrs. Pom said...

I've tossed a few balls up to Jesus myself over the years. I had extraordinarily great comfort in my life during times of unspeakable stress, and time of just wailing and gnashing of teeth to no avail, I thought, in the chapel of our church, waiting for a miracle, a sign, that God heard me.

I'm still here, 18 years later. I guess He heard me. Sometimes I think I should send Him a prepaid phone card so he can make the call when I want Him to, not when He does.

My daily struggle is to remind myself To Let It Be.

Charlotte said...

I'm not trying to diss face time with CJane or anything, but this guest post is one in a million. Thank you.

Cannon's said...

Awesome! Jesus Rocks!

Wendy Kae said...

So beautiful, an amazing post to read on Sunday.

It's so hard to remember to not allow the fear and doubt back into your life. I guess the secret is to REALLY FINALLY HONESTLY turn things over to God.

Bless you Scott!

Jessica said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Laura K said...

what a great post, especially to set the mood for a peaceful sunday.

shanan said...

nothing short of a great post. beautifully written.

Anonymous said...

Stunning. I am gathering. Wish me luck on the toss. I do pray He will catch. I so need that.

Marie Louise said...

My mother has had breast cancer twice. I was able to relate to this post completely. There truly does come a time when you have to toss the fear, and anger away and let God do the rest.
When I had my first child, I almost died of preeclampsia. I distinctly remember saying this ongoing prayer in the back of my mind that whole day, (After I had been diagnosed). "Let the child be safe. Let Mark know I love him and that he can do this on his own if he has to. Let me live so that he won't have to." On and on.
When people ask me about that day, they assume I was terrified. I suppose on some level I was. But I remember flying in the helocopter over the mountains on my way to the bigger hospital, and thinking how beautiful my city is, how beautiful the sky is, the mountains. And thanking God for this opportunity to recognize that, if it was to be my last day on Earth.
God heard my prayers, and my child and I survived. My husband survived his solitary drive through the pass, rushing to be with us, and I never forget the gift God gave me in those terrifying hours. He gave me peace.

Molly said...

I needed this one so much today; you have no idea. It's been awful and trying and for such more insignificant reasons than the author's. However, the feelings are the same: give up the worry and the control, and breathe.

xo

Belle said...

A beautiful post, and a wonderful image of how to give our trials to Jesus. I am learning how to do this day by day and this will help me.

Dianna said...

Thank you! I think I'm going to schedule a game of catch and toss a life-long battle heavenward.

Rebecca said...

That might be the best analogy ever written on this topic. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing, and congrats on beating cancer four times. Amazing.

Helen Anderson said...

Good job, Scott.

Abbie said...

These are the perfect words for me to read and let sink deep into my soul. I'm struggling through a divorce that I never saw coming nor ever imagined would happen and can't seem to let go. I need to trust in God and in Christ's atonement to heal my heart, take away the what if's, bring me an abiding peace, and give me the ability to move forward in life. Thank you for sharing how you were able to do that.

The LaLa said...

To whichever "Anonymous" it was who complained about Sunday guest posts -- you are wrong. C.Jane, this accomplishes two great purposes. It gives your readers a chance to hear from wonderful writers with powerful messages to share. And it gives you the Sabbath. A perfect win/win, for us and for you. I am forwarding the link to this post to my friend who is battling cancer, and recovering from a huge surgery just a few days ago. I loved the metaphor -- thank you.

Sally said...

I have known and wondered about the same thing. How do I cast my burden on the Lord? Thank you.

Ashlee said...

Loved this. It explained that aspect of the Atonement so well for me. Thank you, J. Scott Bronson

Melissa Mills said...

That was amazing. Thank you. I feel so spiritually strengthened.

Meg said...

Although I have never faced cancer, I have been in that dreadful place of unending anxiety. I too have wondered how the Lord could possibly take the worry and dread from me and bring peace to my soul. For me, the "other" part of the atonement, the part where He promises to take our pain and infirmities of the soul upon him, has always required more faith then the process of repenting. What a powerful image of taking those feelings and tossing them away. Sometimes the atonement can seem incomprehensible, yet it really is so simple. We need only to give our worries and sadness and doubts over to Him and he, willingly, takes them.

"But it's a short game. he doesn't toss the ball back."

Beautiful and true. Thank you for this

Andrea said...

wow this is an amazing post. thank you.

Corine said...

What a totally fabulous thing to share! I have had similar experiences with imagry and handing things over to the Lord; IT WORKS! Things that I would have great anxiety over in the past no longer give me anxiety... so long as let things go and just trust Heavenly Father to take care of them for me. It isn't irresponsible; it's necessary! I finally learned that there are some things I can not be responsible for. There are some things only He can do. I NEED HIM. AND HE IS ALWAYS THERE FOR ME (and you... ;)

Thanks so much for sharing!
Corine :D

Nichole and Jeremy said...

So beautiful! Please keep up with the Sunday guest posts...and all the wonderful things you do!

I really loved Scott's analogy. I suffer with anxiety and worry over the smallest things and my worries are more like "golf balls" compared to what you had to go through. But thanks for helping me get through those worries a little differently now.

God Bless you!

Vanessa said...

Wow. Sniff. Awesome post! I really needed to read this today apparently. Thank you!

Maggie May said...

This was amazing. I'm moving this to my inspiration folder in my inbox.
Us San Diegans are kind of awesome ;)

Maggie May said...

also, that is a great, great picture.

the Damsel in Dis Dress said...

Scott! I've been wondering how you were doing. I don't know if I ever told you how much help you were to me in dealing with my own cancer. We were in Dave Wolverton's writing class together back 4? 5? years ago. I won't feel bad if you don't remember but THANK YOU, for this now and for then.

six years cancer free for me now, baby.

Margot

Holly June said...

Loved this post, and I LOVE Scott's plays. He is phenomenal. Since you obviously have a connection, CJane,.....would you know how one would get in touch with Scott or "his people"? I know of a group of Alaskan saints who would really love for him to go up there and put on his play "Stones" sometime.....

Anonymous said...

I have had a difficult time learning how to turn my problems over to the Lord. I never could figure out how to do it.
I appreciate this post very much.

ellen said...

Hey Scott -- it's me Ellen Patton from Roman Gardens. I loved this post.

Cameron/Melissa said...

Wonderful post. I love the sentiment. It seems like that would be impossible to do yet each time we turn our lives over to God he proves he can do much more with our lives than we can.

Lisa Ann said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. I too am a cancer survivor. Removing certain body parts was the cure for me, and then a round of radiation....and not once did I worry that cancer was my final trial. Can't say now that I don't worry about leaving this life earlier than expected. I do worry...that I haven't lived up to my part of the plan, and that I will have run out of opportunities to better myself. So, with your example in mind..I'm going to through it all up to Him, and walk through the gentle rain and enjoy...thank you for your thoughts.

Treble Clef ♪ said...

Court,
Thanks for the guest posts!

Scott,
I have enjoyed your plays (writing, directing, and acting) for years, in fact, way back to our BYU days. What a talent you are. This post was lovely and lifted me. It can really be applied to many situations and I will apply it to my life.
Best wishes to you and yours.

emlizalmo said...

Oh my. Thanks you so much for sharing this, Scott. I remember a time in my life where my sister had been diagnosed with the big "C" and having a very similar conversation with the Lord. This is the most beautiful description of what I felt at that time, what I know and YOU know He can do for us. Thank you.

Emma said...

Not only is this well written the message is so fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing this with the masses.

Robyn said...

Awesome.

The Baum Squad said...

Amazing.

Genean said...

Beautifully expressed. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. I've recently experienced the immobilizing fear of knowing there is nothing I can "do" to change certain trials that are part of my journey. I too have found comfort in the Prince of Peace. I will continue to seek it and Him and until by consistently doing so the moments of fear become less paralyzing and frequent.

amyinbc said...

This is so very inspirational. Thank you.

Heather said...

Thank you.

Sylvia said...

Just had to say thank you for a sweet and heart-felt testimony. It is touching and sweet to hear of your experience with the short game and tender to know of another's anguish that was picked up by the One who loves us all. No wonder He is "beloved."

Anonymous said...

A dear friend just shared today that she has been privately battling liver cancer for the past three years. This post is so timely. I will share with her the idea of visualizing that game of catch.

To release, and give up to God.

God bless

Jana Neser said...

I loved this post so so much! Thank you!

Lyndsay said...

I loved this. I had a similar experience tossing the ball, so to speak. I was amazingly relieved at the almost immediate results of allowing my burdens to be lifted. Great guest post!

Alisha said...

That was beautiful. Thank you so much.

CareTaking Daughter said...

I love your words. My husband has had cancer twice, and is now in his 2nd year of being cancer free. Although he has new spots on his lungs (Colon cancer that spread) he doesn't worry at all.

Thank you so much for sharing.

--Mari

Amber said...

what an ispiring piece ♥ such spiritual clarity, such focus... thanks for sharing!

Kaja said...

This gave me a whole different perspective on the Atonement and getting through hardships. Thank you for your post!

nielsons*love*family said...

i have my own little ball that needs to be tossed up to the big man right now. POWERFUL words...loved them.

Anonymous said...

Dios es una esperiencia increible, me gustaria tener esa fuerza de voluntad y respirar profundo y volar, se que Dios esta conmigo y no me va ha desamparar, pero siempre siento que debo preocuparme y hacer algo mas terrenal para salir, creo que estoy haciendo algo que no es.

Un gran abrazo.

Johanna Diaz. Bogotá-Colombia

Katie H said...

Thank you for sharing this. Absolutely beautiful - I am in tears. And needed it.

aiza@ dental services said...

i was moved too just like the others. glad that you share this with us.Idaho Falls dentist

kelsey said...

This is lovely...I look forward to being in heaven with this man.

Vicky said...

This was wonderful! I so want to be this person when I grow up.

Anonymous said...

Well said. Wow, I did not have cancer, but my son did. I remember laying in my bed at night thinking "I have to get some sleep to be of any help to my boy". I also remember saying aloud, "Lord I can't do this by myself. I need to give you these worries so I can rest" and I felt like I physically handed my fear and worry to God.

He never let me down.

Patsy from Michigan

Anonymous said...

Beautiful beautiful beautiful.

Through the Looking Glass said...

Thank you, Scott. I've never understood how people do "that" either; all the talk, all my life, about using the Atonement - it's been like a foreign language to me. I never understood Atonement as a verb, but your honesty made it so for me.

My simple words aren't doing justice to the profundity of my feelings. This feels life-altering to me.

Thank you.

A Mormon Mommy said...

I love that he said it is a short game, so true! Jesus doesn't throw the ball back and it's so comforting. It's wonderful to know that He has experienced EVERYTHING we have have experienced! It's so reassuring!

Ashley said...

It's funny that you wrote this in February, because in Ojibwe, we called February the Throw-Away Moon, because it's the month that we are able to tie our sickness to a stick, throw it at the moon, and the creator catches it and keeps it from us.

Sounds like your story.

Andrea said...

I love this post. Thank you.

j. scott bronson said...

I can't tell you how moving it is to me that this little story has been a blessing to others. I'm very pleased about that. Thank you all so much for your kind words and feelings. (Holly June-- I would love to bring "Stones" to Alaska. Message me on Facebook; we'll talk.)

brooke said...

I don't comment often (ever) and this moved me to comment. Thought I don't have anything as terrible as cancer, I have been struggling with something else for a year and wondering how to make the Atonement work in my life and with this issue. I think this post was an answer to my prayers. This makes sense to me. Thanks Scott.

Lori T. said...

Lovely. Sometimes when your family is going through something you need a new perspective on it. My husband just finished a Stem Cell transplant. He has Hodgkins Disease which he has not responded to any chemo as of yet. He will have had this ugly disease for over a year come March 12. We pray every day after day +100 his scans will come out clean. It is all up to god now. The ball is in his court. Maybe we should just let him play this one out and breathe. Thank you for your post and God Bless you and your family.

Becky said...

i needed this. and i needed to read it today - not when it was posted, not the next day - but today. and tonight, with my kids asleep and my husband gone for a few hours...i found myself sitting on the couch with a crushing headache and aching muscles (recurring problem due to radiation damage when i had cancer) and knowing my doctor was going to call and order more tests and wondering if i had it in me to live with this anxiety that keeps bubbling up when i feel this bad...and then i read this. i needed this - the words - the visualization. okay, well - i'm off to have a long prayer and a game of catch. i hope i have enough faith.

Katie Price said...

so needed in so many different ways today. letting go is so hard to do, and i've never been able to figure out how to do it. thank you.

Eliza said...

Thank you thank you thank you. I have been living with crippling and crushing anxiety lately about a few things in my life. I have wondered and wondered how I can just give it up--because it seems logically that if I could just stop worrying, I would just stop worrying. :) Thank you for this. The Lord knows us and is always ready to help.

KatieJ said...

Loved this- you have so many good writers posting, including you. I want to share this, can you please add those little "post to facebook" buttons? I would love that!

aubtobobtolob said...

I would like Scott to know this post helped my pain...
My father just passed, he was only 61, not sick and I had to perform CPR on the man who I revered.
I hurt... more than I could handle, and I had more fear about my own mortality and that of my other loved ones.
I read this, I searched, I prayed, and that pain was completely, miraculously lifted. It has been over a month, and it was taken.
thank you.

Alisha said...

This is an old post so you may not see this comment, but thank you. My little girl was born at 25 weeks in July and is still in the NICU 5 months later. I have never been more scared, worried, tired, etc., in my life. This post has inspired me to ask Heavenly Father to take my burden, because I'm done. I just want my baby home. Thank you for this post.