By Tim E. Renzelmann (Excerpt from The TLC Supportive Newsletter, Vol. I, Iss. 2 – March 2001)
We have offered a wide variety of games (card games and other games) over the years through the TLC Survivorship Can Be Fun Game Gatherings. I recently pulled out the TLC Supportive Newsletter from March of 2001 that reported on our first TLC Survivorship Can Be Fun Cribbage Tournament. In that same issue I wrote a piece that included an analogy that, although twenty years old, I think remains relevant today. So, following our most recent TLC World Series of Blackjack, I thought it would be appropriate to reprint part of that piece here... twenty years later!
When was the last time you built a “house of cards”? Try it right now! Take one card and lean it up against another. Now I ask you, which card is supporting which and which card is being supported? You may notice that both cards are supported and being supported by one another.
Now continue adding more cards one-by-one. Before you know it, you will have this wonderful house of cards and every card supports the others and is being supported by the others. And the more cards you add, the sturdier the house becomes.
This is so much like the cancer experience. You may start out with someone recently being diagnosed with cancer and you lean him/her up against a medical oncologist. As you add more people (family members, caregivers, nurses, friends and fellow survivors) you will see that each person supports the others and is supported by the others.
Much like the house of cards that I built as a child or that I recently built with my son (REMINDER: This was written more than twenty years ago!) the house of cards that cancer built in my life has been built with care, compassion and thoughtfulness. It is strengthened by hope, love and support. It has required steady hands, quiet whispers and a firm foundation. It is strong, indeed. And yet it is so very weak and vulnerable to certain elements and I know some day it may fall. And it is that very same weakness and vulnerability that makes life so precious, valuable and beautiful.
And that, I believe, is what the cancer experience has taught me – the value of giving and getting support. And that is why I encourage all of you to share your cancer experiences with the rest of us. Each of us has so much to teach one another and so much to learn from one another.
May your house of cards be built with care, compassion and thoughtfulness. May it be reinforced with hope, love and support. May it be sustained with gentle hands, quiet whispers and a firm foundation. And may your body, mind, heart and spirit find comfort through the support you give and the support you get from one another!