Blogs by Jeanne G. Miller
3/15/2008 5:18:58 PM
Sitting in the lobby of the cancer treatment center waiting for my friend to finish her treatment, gave me time to be still for the moment and to think about my health and my life. So much of my day is filled with decisions to make and deadlines to reach. This short time-out was needed for me to prioritize the important things still left to do today.
What is actually important enough to me to invest my time, energy, and my life in? The patients would not be here in the center if they were not undergoing treatment. The important thing for them is to be able to live. Their disease might take that opportunity away. I was reminded of a time when I faced the unknown and questioned whether I would live. How would a serious illness choose to lead me through the pain and uncertainty to recovery or instead into death? I remembered the dark night of my soul and the depth of agony that I felt during that time. I remembered to aloneness that accompanied the isolation that I felt.
I remembered my reading from Touching the Divine by Wayne Muller (1994). In that book, he defines the spiritual work that demanded my attention during those days most poignantly. He states “there are times in all of our lives when we are forced to reach deep into ourselves to feel the truth of our real nature. For each of us there comes a moment when we can no longer live our lives by accident.” He continues by stating “life throws us into questions that some of us refuse to ask until we are confronted by death or some tragedy in our lives.” He asks the reader to ponder these questions: “What do I know to be most deeply true? What do I love? Have I loved well? Who do I believe myself to be? What have I placed on the center of the altar of my life? Where do I belong? What will people find in the ashes of my incarnation when this is over? How shall I live my life knowing that I will die and what is my gift to the family of earth?” He concludes by saying that “these questions come around and around like a spiral going ever deeper into the meaning of life.”
What had I learned? Had I gone back to the routine and suffocate under the mundane of life? Had I been able to retain the valuable lessons that I had toiled to understand? How was I living my life at that very moment? I was serving my friend. I understood her pain and I could be the shoulder for her to lean on.
My thoughts returned to the waiting room and I saw another friend who was also there for treatment. We began to talk about her life and I moved into the life that I had begun to live, one of offering hope to a hurting world.
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