Sunday, July 21, 2013

How Do You Spell Relief?

"Give up the feeling of responsibility, let go your hold, resign the care of your destiny to higher powers, be genuinely indifferent as to what becomes of it all and you will find not only that you gain a perfect inward relief, but often also, in addition, the particular goods you sincerely thought you were renouncing." -Williams James
In a word, "Whew". My scan came back negative, and I'm positively out of my mind with joy. It's next to impossible to explain the sense of relief that comes from getting this good news, but I'm going to try anyway.  It’s like being back in Elementary school and the biggest of all bullies tells you, with a menacing look, to meet him on the playground at recess and when you get there, rather than giving you an atomic wedgie, he hands you an ice cream cone, tells you to have a great day, and that he's "got your back" for the rest of the school year. It's like that, only better.

However, in the yin and yang of our world, even this news comes with a reminder that a life lived with humility, gratitude, and even a touch of indifference, makes more sense than living as a conquering warrior.

While sending out the requests for energy, prayers, and good vibes to my army of faithful supporters as I headed for the CT machine, I learned that one of them had recently been diagnosed with cancer. He was just starting down that road of uncertainty that cancer survivors know all too well. I immediately felt the pull toward the reflexive, "Damn this disease," response. My hands were being drawn to type out some Patton-like encouragement. Instead, I was able to corral my fingers and coordinate them to write a more empathetic reply. This particular friend is a kindred spirit, a pacifist of the highest order, and my ranting about his need to “fight the good fight” would be meaningless.

Knowing full well that there was nothing I could say that would make it all better, I chose the response that seemed to work the best for me in the early days of my illness. I told him that he already has within him all the resources he will need to meet this challenge and to know that when he needs extra those of us who care for him will lend him ours.

I then silently offered him the Pacifist’s Prayer:

Letting go, I am care free
In surrender, I am cared for
In the hands of Life I bear its grief
With an open heart I find relief

1 comment:

  1. Nicely stated, Mike. One of the best responses I have had in times of need is "How can I support you?".

    (was referred to your blog by Jim Meeker after he read my blog post)