Summary and Analysis
The chapter opens back in February with Steve finding out he has stomach cancer, which has spread to his lungs and pancreas. Although the doctor will not give Steve a set amount of time, Steve ascertains that he has less than a year to live. The realization of his impending death hits Steve later, as he stands alone and scared on the beach.
Steve first tells Pastor Harris and then Kim about his condition. When he invites his children to spend the summer, he does not allow Kim to tell them of his diagnosis. In the spring, Steve begins to ponder the nature of God and believes that God exists but desires to experience His presence in the world. Back in the present, realizing he needs to be honest with his children, Steve tells them, "I need to go to the hospital."
Steve's health has been foreshadowed throughout the novel, and in Chapter 30, the details regarding his diagnosis are finally revealed. When Steve learns that he had stomach cancer and that it had spread, he is prepared to deal with the unpleasant news because of his previous experience with his own father's death.
When the doctor and Steve start to discuss the idea of quality of life, the doctor states an important theme of the novel: "Try to make the most of the time you have left." Scared and alone, Steve turns toward God and begins a quest to experience God's presence in the world. Steve's journey is initially personal but ends up involving his family. Because of Steve's faith and the way he demonstrated it, Ronnie will to turn to God in her time of crisis.
Metastasized to have spread to other parts of the body
Oncologist a specialist in the study and treatment of cancer