Not A Losing Battle


Sometimes there is a fire burning and no one knows until it is too late. I have been struggling with terminology lately. I consider myself someone who tries to live non-violently but I do not always succeed. As I go along this path of illness and recovery, I cringe at the trauma to my body on so many levels. I also dislike the language that goes along with this experience: fight, battle, kick-ass, beat it to name a few. I have also talked about being clobbered by chemo or kicked to the curb. These are all images that are not peace-filled.

I was saying to a friend last night that I struggled to write to the prayer warriors who were my go-to when I needed that extra prayer power. Last night I lay awake in bed, contemplating this whole notion of language, power and meaning. This morning I got an updated blog post from someone I know who is struggling with the same issue. You can check that out here:

I know that this will not resonate with many people in my life but I have been thinking about this topic for years, since first hearing about it when I took my conflict resolution degree courses.  I have tried to change my vocabulary since then.  Small steps are made by saying things like press enter instead of hit enter when talking about the computer key. In terms of the health journey though, I am aware of what my brain stores in its long-term memory when it hears me say statements such as this chemo is kicking me to the curb or I am being clobbered by the chemo. I decided recently that I really need to stop using that language and focus on the positive, if I can find it. This chemo is tough on me but it is all for a good cause.   My body is strong and on its way to healing.  I can do this.  I can endure through God’s grace.

I have looked at the Saturday obituaries for years and I have always had a reaction to lost his/her battle with cancer.   Earlier on in this journey I said what I knew was true at my core. I am not going to lose….ever. If I live, I win–I continue my amazing life.  If I die, I still win because I go Home.  There is no losing the battle for me. There is no battle.  There is only the moment and my ability to be present to it.



Reflection Questions

Have you ever considered how you use violent language?

What do you think about how language affects health?


God of Peace, what should we think about violent language?


About sstyves

A Canadian prairie girl rooted in Ignatian spirituality, I seek God in all things. Whether I catch a glimpse of the Divine and delight in its presence in nature or in the beauty of an encounter with someone, I am ever so grateful that I can recognize the Creator. I greet each new day with hope and happiness, expecting blessings and miracles because I am created to praise, love and serve God. This blog is one way of realizing that through my writings, prayers, and photography. To God be the Glory!
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7 Responses to Not A Losing Battle

  1. Monica says:

    Hi Suzanne. I do believe that words matter and have never liked the term “lost his/her battle with cancer”.,..though I understand how we can all be at a loss for the right words when dealing with cancer or other serious illnesses. Maybe we need some new words to describe the challenge of cancer without resorting to violent metaphors. Thanks for another thought-provoking post. I always look forward to reading God in All Things!

  2. sstyves says:

    Monica, I’ll be interested to read what people post on Jarem’s blog as he invited conversation. Thanks for always reading and making good comments.

    • Monica says:

      I’ve subscribed to Jarem’s blog – thanks! I like that he (and you) question some of our society’s norms. Example: “Models of success are part of the problem not the solution.” More good reading to look forward to.

  3. Lisa says:

    Suz, I have never liked the battle, warrior, survivor, thriver language. Cancer is not an opponent, nor is it a foe that can be won over. On a cellular level, cancer is part of “us”–a cell gone wrong. I agree. We win on both fronts, if we live or go Home. Thank you for always sharing your heart. xo

  4. Karen Wheadon says:

    A lovely perspective Suzanne on where you are at with all of this. Interesting thoughts on the language we use to express ourselves. I will now be mindful and more careful of the words I choose. Thanks:)

    Sent from my iPad


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