I've been reading Lance Armstrong's autobiography - "It's not about the bike". He is an incredibly inspiring individual, and his story (of surviving cancer, and going on to win the Tour de France seven times,) is gruelling to get through, but rewarding when you reach the end. Much like a cycling race.
I really like the way in which Armstrong reminds us that cancer is senseless. It made me realise that I still try to rationalise it, and give it meaning. But, as Armstrong points out, cancer has killed many positive-minded people who were determined to beat it; whilst it has spared many who had little will to carry on living.
It's tempting to give cancer a meaning, and imagine that we can control the outcome. But, whilst there are surely things we can do to improve our chances, ultimately cancer is a pretty random thing.
Lance Armstrong's strength of character helped him and his family get through the treatment, and it's what enabled him to go on and triumph at the Tour de France. But he was also extremely lucky, and he knows it. He has a really big ego, and he's quite up front about the fact that he's rubbed people up the wrong way during his career. But his cancer was neither a punishment, nor a reward. It was just some random thing that happened to him.
We can't control what will happen to us. We may or may not get a cancer diagnosis. We may or may not survive. What matters is how we respond to the challenges that life throws at us, and what we do with the time that we have. There's no meaning to cancer - all we can do is focus on the meaning of our own actions.