Detaching with Love

By Kristen Bourgeois

I recently went to visit my uncle, my dad’s youngest brother, who was hospitalized for stage four lung cancer that has metastasized to his brain.

I had a hard time debating with myself to go visit or not. It’s more complicated than just cancer. As if cancer wasn’t hard enough; I had to check-in with my motives as to why I wanted to visit.

See, I was very close with my uncle growing up as a child. But as an adult, not so much. Not because of a falling out. But because I detached with love and created boundaries due to addiction.

I ultimately decided to go and visit my uncle; not to persuade, motivate or save. I went to say goodbye, make peace with and share with my uncle how much I love him and how he was like a father to me.

And, as I shared with my uncle how much he means to me, it dawned on me how God, despite my uncle’s own problems, was able to fill in the places where my own father was unable to fulfill.

I felt much comfort and thanksgiving for my heavenly father for never abandoning me. Both of these men were so imperfect, but God still used them.

Expectation is what made this trip different from the trips I would take during the end stage of my own father’s life years ago. I knew that no matter what I said or did, I was unable to change the behavior of another. I was able to tell my uncle how I loved him with no manipulation in my heart.

I don’t take my uncle’s addiction personally. I see that this disease is much bigger than me. But you know who is bigger than any problem or addiction? It’s our God!

I still pray for my uncle’s conversion and for his healing. But not according to my will, but to God’s will. And, I know that God wants us all to be in relationship with us and loves us all. And, to me, that is a comfort.

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