islandsPosted: March 17, 2012
Cancer is waiting. Unlike the flu or pnmenonia which can strike you down in two days, cancer meanders through your life, touching what it will, moving at its own pace. I was expecting this urgent dash to the goal line with absolute victory. Instead, I hike the trail to the unseen finish stopping at aid stations as they appear.
I thought cancer would be an epiphany. It would make me understand life, force me to live every minute. It has changed me, and made me more thoughtful than before, but the change is subtle.
In Joe Hyams book “Zen in the Martial Arts” he talks about the masters at the temple proclaiming that one of the students had attained enlightment. When all the other students approached the newly enlightened one and asked how it felt, he replied “Just as miserable as ever”. I too am different but unchanged.
What do I appreciate more? I appreciate taste, glorious wonderful taste, rich chocolate, zesty orange slices, cooked carrots and anything that doesn’t taste of metal. I value touch, that wonderful sense of connection fostered by a hug, or the touch on an arm and friendship, given unselfshly to support family and me. And I am reminded by one of my favorite poets in words I wish I might someday approach:
No man is an island
No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as a manor of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.John Donne