When I awaken in darkness in the middle of the night with a sudden thought that cancer will defeat me, fear grips my heart like a villain. I am forced to turn to the Good Shepherd who takes my mind to pleasant thoughts empowered by faith, hope, and love. Tenaciously, I let go of all I have and call my own and willingly give them back to my Creator.

Then, slowly but surely, peace and gratitude take the place of my anxiety and fear. The pillow seems soft again. The blankets seem warm not wet with my icy fears. My eyes close softly as breathing becomes easy.

And, until the next anxious moment awakens me, I rest in the arms of the Good Shepherd. I feel the peace expressed so well by the American writer Wendell Berry.

“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives might be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world and am free.”