“Fuck Cancer” is a perfectly appropriate response

Posted by bryanzug - 2008/11/24

John Spalding, Fuck Cancer

Photo courtesy of the talented sarah joann murphy
Roo & Tug —

A friend of a friend died last night of cancer. His name was John Spalding and he used to be in a few bands with our friend Mr. Jeff.

Mamacita and I didn’t know John — I do remember seeing him at a Raft of Dead Monkeys house show in 2000 or 2001 — but even though we did not know John, we’ve both had this visceral reaction to the disease that killed him yesterday —

Fuck cancer.

I want to say as your dad that you will have responses like this to some things in life — whether they come at you from the periphery or dead on — and I want to let you know that it is a perfectly appropriate reaction.

An important part of the big Story which surrounds us is that we are all dumbstruck in these moments by an intense notion that THIS IS NOT THE WAY THINGS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE.

Especially when someone is young and talented or so very good and undeserving of untimely death — Folks like your Grandpa Gordy, my friend Marc Kaser, my friend Stuart Berry, my friend Tom Music, my friend from Gnomedex Derek Miller, or a visionary like steve Steve Jobs.

And I want to take this timely moment to encourage your future selves on some very important points.

When these sort of “FUCK CANCER” moments hit you — I want you to take some time to ask where these deep reactions of justice and fairness come from.

= = =

There are three books that have persuaded me that Jesus is the capital “S” Story of what life is all about.

In one of these books called “Mere Christianity” (written as an explanation of where God was amidst the devastation of the 1st and 2nd World Wars), C.S. Lewis has an amazing section about two chaps arguing in a bar over something.

The important point he makes has nothing to do with what they are arguing about.

Instead, he points out how quickly they appeal to a notion of “that’s not fair” in their discussion.

He uses that bar conversation to illustrate how deep and natural this idea of fairness is ingrained in us (and all of humanity).

I will go into greater detail on this later, but I wanted to take a moment to point out three things —

  1. Your Mamacita and I believe that the only rational explanation for this sort of reaction is that God is real and good in the concrete and understandable sense found within the Bible — and that this Goodness is what we footnote in these viseral reactions.

  2. I want you to look closely at the picture above of Mr. Jeff — look at that wicked smile — that grin is a book of systematic theology put in a t-shirt and walking around a club in Seattle — that smile contains one of the most important and juxtaposed truths that Jesus puts in the hearts of folks who follow him in spirit and in truth — it holds “FUCK CANCER” and “physical death is not the end of the story” in a dramatic and deep tension.

  3. These are the things that poetic lives are made of.

Rest in Peace John Spalding.



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