Letters from the Land of Cancer

I don’t get to read many books during the semester that are not textbooks (and I don’t actually manage to read all of those). I did manage to read one non-required book in the last three months.

The fact that I read the book is a bit of a story in its self. Calvin Seminary treats me like a normal student, in terms of  bulk emails, even though all of the courses I take from them are online and I am rarely on campus (its over 500km away). One of those emails announced the that the president of the seminary thought it would be a cool thing if everyone read a book together. The book he had chosen was Walter Wangrein Jr’s Letters from the Land of Cancer. The seminary had bought enough copies for everyone to have one, read it, discuss it, and in April meet with the author.

I was ready to feel left out, but, an email to the seminary, and I was told that was not to be. The book arrived in the mail a week or so later. I started reading and had to finish. It’s not a long book, but it is very well written and thoughtful.

The basis of the book are letters written to family and friends after Walter was diagnosed with lung cancer in January of 2006. It tells the story of the diagnosis, the chemo, the radiation, and the unexpected remission that allows Walter to continue writing, teaching, and speaking today.

More importantly, it is a story of faith and trust in the face of what seemed to be a diagnosis of death. The book is a story of one man’s journey through the valley. It is a touching, emotional read. It is one man’s journey, and I don’t know if others struggling with the same situation would find any comfort in reading it since the walk toward that last door is such a personal one.

In terms of reality, faith,  and vulnerability, this is an excellent read.


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