Spirituality Through Illness.
A topic I have not touched since being diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer is my spirituality.
It has been with me throughout this journey.
My faith that there is a God – perhaps not the same God that you were brought up to believe in – but nevertheless a God … is still there.
I was waiting for the right time to pull all my research together, but my #chemobrain just hasn’t functioned well enough to go as deep and as technical as I’d like. I feel like I just can’t do the topic justice right now, so I let it be. God would let me know when it was time to tell the story.
If you have read some of my earlier blogs, you know I have my own sense of God, Spirituality, the Universe. It’s not New Age stuff. It’s ancient stuff.
I don’t separate Science and Religion. They both can coexist if you strip away their dogma. How would you explain the Big Bang and the creation of the Universe if telling the story over 2000 years ago? Simplified because the reality is just too big to grasp. Especially when the world is still flat and center. If only the Bible grew and changed like Scientific Journals (but we would be snapped from one end of the Universe to the other). Coffee causes and cures cancer. God does and doesn’t exist. Science has never answered from what this all came from or why. And we are arrogant humans to think we are the final destination in evolution.
Though we could be.
Here is a cross-road for me in the Bible and the Science Textbook.
I recall reading – forgive me but it was so long ago that I cannot quote the source – an article on how many species of animals and plants go extinct each year. And that rate of extinction has increased as we, humans, overpower the planet. The author surmised, from a scientific standpoint, that we had already lost the cure for cancer or the next big plague. Most of our medicine is based on something that is – or was – already here.
Genesis 1:29 “Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”
He had given us everything we need … and we have destroyed so much of this bounty.
If the Pacific Yew tree (Taxus brevifolia) didn’t exist … I wouldn’t be receiving a chemotherapy drug that worked for my cancer. Paclitaxel – Brand name Taxol – is derived from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree and is listed on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.
Not only were we given life, but free will. We create our (shared) existence.
Heaven and Hell.
Good and Evil.
God and Satan.
Each side is in all of us. We alone choose which beast to feed.
Even if I get to the end of my life and find out there is nothing hereafter and that this was the only life I get to live from here to eternity … I would have rather have lived my life in good than in evil. That I made – for the most part – this world a better place. I have my place – be it but a blip in time – in the story of humanity.
I remember, as an Atheist, rolling my eyes if someone said, “I will pray for you.” Then, as I mellowed, I viewed “I will pray for you” as an equivalent to “I will be thinking of you and hoping for the best”. Now, when someone says they will pray for me, I look them in the eye and thank them deeply for the gift. Thank you. I don’t care what your path to God is, but I thank you for your prayer.
I would think that the weakest people were the ones who turned everything over to God. “MY GOD!” I would rant inside my head “GROW A PAIR AND OWN YOUR LIFE!” How weak it was to relinquish control. But I find the opposite … it brings strength. There is peace in realizing that some journeys are necessary. And whatever will be, will be. If I die, it’s meant to be. I will be sad, because I have so much left to do, and leave behind someone so important. But the choice is not entirely mine.
Yes, I pleaded with God that this not be cancer. And it was.
Yes, I pleaded with God not to make me go through chemo … but the day Dr. X told me that my surgery was a success and I would do radiation … it didn’t feel right. I knew I was meant to do chemo. I was meant to write this entire journey, and I even said to Sherri “This isn’t right. I am meant to do chemo. How can I blog the journey if I don’t experience it?” I was perplexed. And … sure enough. I am doing chemo. I knew I was meant do to this whole journey.
Yes, I got down on my knees and cried … felt forsaken and broken. I yelled. I broke things. Until I realized there was a purpose.
Maybe I asked for this. I did want a flatter tummy and a beautiful head of hair … I have both … just not quite the way I intended. God has shown me repeatedly that we don’t necessarily receive our requests in the manner in which we thought we would.
Like St. Jean Baptiste, we are put in the wilderness to find our voice. (Thank You Dr. D!) I was put into this wilderness called cancer to find my message. The words that make me weep from his story is … It must be the same for all who follow Jesus. I have a purpose.
Within a week, it will be a year – June 24th – when I found my baby sparrow.
Yes, I have pleaded with God not to let me die. And I still don’t know the answer to that one. Time will tell. I don’t think my story is over. Everything Happens for A Reason, and I am meant to live and write this journey. Sounds bizarre, but I have embraced it. You’ve witnessed it.
I am happy to be where I am. I wouldn’t change anything … not even the Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
Why am I doing this journey? I think I was on a path to destruction, and this was a course correct. I think that the only way God could help me get to where I wanted to go was to knock me to the sidelines and out of the game for this period. I needed to regain perspective on what was important and get back on track with my real journey. And prepare myself for everything better than what came before March 2017. He had a purpose for me right from the moment I was conceived (I almost didn’t happen).
I have become ruthless – almost hedonistic – in my quest to put myself first. If it causes me pain or discomfort, it’s gone. Yes, it might get lonely, but I find I have become more introverted than my usual extroverted self. I need time and space alone. I read, I write, I research, I think. I try to paint.
I was warned by a Master that layers would be stripped away – burnt off – in this journey. Perhaps necessary to give me focus. To get to another plane. To wake up my soul and give it flight.
We grow from pain.
I would still choose my pain over another. All I have to do is sit in a lonely hospital bed and hear Code Blues be called for the Labour & Delivery Unit. And realize that my journey is much easier than some.
My journey has changed me. Deeper. Inward. Stronger. More sure of who I am. What I want. Where I need to go.
If you are a fan of sci-fi and the movie the Matrix, the first Matrix was designed to be Utopia. But humans figured out that real life isn’t perfect and it failed. In the next Matrix, human suffering was built in. We NEED conflict.
It’s built into this Universe and we have to accept that without one, the other doesn’t exist. We just choose with path we want to follow.
Just because there is darkness, it doesn’t disprove the light.
We need the dark to see the light.
Find your light in the midst of your darkness. And don’t let darkness overshadow our light. It is the imbalance that will do us in. That’s when the Universe implodes.
Live well and take care of the planet … and each other!