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A dear friend, Roxanne, sent me the below poem by the late John O’Donohue, one of my favorite poets.

I think it is so apropos following my last post, The Gift of Cancer.  This beautifully worded poem describes my journey in a way I never could.

This is for all those who are going through or have gone through a life altering disease, also for all their families and friends who share their journey with them:

blessing for a friend, on the arrival of illness
John O’Donohue

Now is the time of dark invitation
Beyond a frontier that you did not expect;
Abruptly, your old life seems distant.

You barely noticed how each day opened
A path through fields never questioned,
Yet expected deep down to hold treasure.
Now your time on earth becomes full of threat;
Before your eyes your future shrinks.

You lived absorbed in the day to day,
So continuous with everything around you,
That you could forget you were separate;

Now this dark companion has come between you,
Distances have opened in your eyes,
You feel that against your will
A stranger has married your heart.

Nothing before has made you
Feel so isolated and lost.

When the reverberations of shock subside in you,
May grace come to restore you to balance.
May it shape a new space in your heart
To embrace this illness as a teacher
Who has come to open your life to new worlds.

May you find in yourself
A courageous hospitality
Towards what is difficult,
Painful and unknown.

May you use this illness
As a lantern to illuminate
The new qualities that will emerge in you.

May the fragile harvesting of this slow light
Help you to release whatever has become false in you.
May you trust this light to clear a path
Through all the fog of old unease and anxiety
Until you feel arising within you a tranquility
Profound enough to call the storm to stillness.

May you find the wisdom to listen to your illness:
Ask it why it came? Why it chose your friendship?
Where it wants to take you? What it wants you to know?
What quality of space it wants to create in you?
What you need to learn to become more fully yourself
That your presence may shine in the world.

May you keep faith with your body,
Learning to see it as a holy sanctuary
Which can bring this night-wound gradually
Towards the healing and freedom of dawn.

May you be granted the courage and vision
To work through passivity and self-pity,
To see the beauty you can harvest
From the riches of this dark invitation.

May you learn to receive it graciously,
And promise to learn swiftly
That it may leave you newborn,
Willing to dedicate your time to birth.

On Friday, June 8th, when I came out of surgery for the removal of a life threatening tumor, the first thing I saw were my children.

The first thing I remember is the surgeon showing me a photo of the tumor.

It was HEART SHAPED!

I thought I had dreamed it. When I finally woke up in my hospital room, I don’t know how many hours later, I don’t know how I got there, the only thing I remembered was the heart.

This may or may not mean anything to you; however, the 7-month journey culminating in the surgery has been about LOVE. I have been surrounded by love throughout, by family and friends, near and far. And, the visions/revelations that came to me during this time, was all about love, and of course, love comes from the heart.

This symbol reaffirmed for me that God sent me the gift of cancer. Read the rest of this entry »

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