Friday, January 14, 2011

Cancer Poem

We have all been touched by cancer in some way and I think most of us have experienced that feeling of helplessness that comes with seeing a friend or loved one deal with something that seems beyond their (and our) control. We look for some way to help or encourage - to lighten their burden or brighten their day.

I hope this artwork does just that for one courageous woman who is fighting ovarian cancer. Her friend asked me to do a painting to illustrate the poem "What Cancer Cannot Do". After hearing about this very special woman who has impacted so many lives, I came up with a design that I hope symbolizes her life, her faith, and the love and support she has from her community of friends and family.
11" x 14" watercolor & ink

The sky is a rainbow of colors, bringing to mind God’s covenant with man, as recounted in the book of Genesis. It is a perfect reminder of our Lord’s protection and the keeping of His promises to us.

The sun shines in the center of the painting, signifying constancy, hope, and the dawning of each new day.

The river is a symbol of life’s journey, with its twists and turns, always flowing toward something greater than one’s self. It reflects the many colors of the sky above, just as our lives reflect God’s love and faithfulness to us.

The trees represent strength and the ability to withstand the winds of adversity. As the trees are rooted in the earth, so we are rooted in God. Our faith is the firm foundation upon which we stand and grow. The intertwining branches of the trees represent our relationships with friends and family. We grow together and touch each other's lives, connected to one another not only during the happy sunshine days of summer, but also during the dark winter nights of the soul.

The nightingale sings its most joyful song as dawn approaches, making it a symbol of the holy joy of the righteous Christian soul, singing in the darkness of this world. It is a joyful song, anticipating the arrival of Christ and His light.

Pink roses represent happiness, and roses in general have for centuries stood for love and remembrance. These roses are the wild, uncultivated type that bloom in a boisterous display every summer. They are sturdy, fragrant, and beautiful, with no need for coddling. They stand strong and flourish despite challenging conditions.

The teal ribbon stands for ovarian cancer awareness.

And, finally, the columbine flowers are a traditional symbol of holiness, fidelity, and the Holy Spirit.

As I worked on this painting, I thought often about this woman whom I will never meet. I hope she's blessed by my efforts.


  1. Leslie What a truly beautiful sentiment. I sent it to many of my friends.

  2. I have a close friend who is my cancer muse! She smiles, she fights, she keeps on giving us hope. love this touching and inspiring.


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