We spend all our lives in fear of this one thing. We ALL do. There’s not even a question in my mind that it is without a doubt the most feared thing in the human race. It is a beast; a monster waiting outside the door. It is the dark and no light; it is the unknown creature hiding in the closet or under the bed. It’s malevolence is the defining paradigm of evil; something that would give Lucifer a run for his money. There is no avoiding it any more when it touches you…all you can do is hope for the best and embrace the Darkness.
“You have cancer.”
The three words that forever change your life and forever turn in upside down and inside out. Three words that are probably the most feared in any language. Three words that give power to the Beast and unleashes it from its cage and it is then free to create a maelstrom of death and destruction; sometimes taking no prisoners along the way; but more often than not, creating a vast wasteland upon which families are tested and either survive or are ruined. Families are bonded by this harbinger of impending doom, or vast distances separate them…or sometimes, they can be brought together in times of need. These three words start the Journey; one that begins the discovery of self, or puts you back on that road that you walked off of long ago to seek a career and life and perhaps settle for things that you never thought you would have had you remained true to yourself and continued down the road to discovery.
Make no mistake; this is a Journey of body, soul, and spirit. It is a test of courage and a test of will. It is a triumph of the human spirit, or the depth of human despair. There is no middle ground; no areas of gray. There is either Darkness or Light, and the road you choose and the companions that stand by you or those that run from you are revealed. You can even hear the bird crowing three times as they betray you…and it is then you realize that your life is better off without them. But those that stand with you and give you strength are somehow the pillars you can rest on when you are too tired to stand. These are those that give of themselves freely more than they ever have before. Complete strangers will offer you help when you least expect it…and simple acts of kindness take on meanings of biblical proportions. You suddenly see love in the eyes of those who may not have loved you for a while, but they cover that up with a sense of duty to help you survive because they dare not allow themselves to love you again. To them, you are the way you have always been; to you, you have just begun to emerge from your chrysalis. You are only beginning the voyage of the phoenix.
And in random moments the most remarkable thing is that the Universe that has always been your constant companion and savior reveals one small iota of information that will make you believe in yourself; or make you believe that perhaps there is indeed a reason for you being here that is slowly becoming more evident with each passing day. You see that time passes more slowly; that every minute is there to be looked at and enjoyed, like a sip of a fine tea out of good china. You notice that every single moment has its own significance and is only a small part of many paintings that the Universe is working on…a splash of color here or there; lines being drawn of exquisite beauty; or an insignificant object in the out of the way portion of a canvass that will soon become something more than a color or the outline of something currently indiscernible.
And then there are the simple moments of absolute revelation in simple tasks that you took for granted. Suddenly a solitary car ride along an unknown route to a place never having been to is not as bad as it once was. It is an adventure to be relished. It is the Journey itself at its core: in the end it is you alone with a map…or perhaps without one. It’s improvisation of life and the moment. The moment IS your life…
Embrace the Darkness…take up the hammer…pass through the gauntlet; not unscathed, not unscarred, not unworthy of the tests of the tournament…but unbowed in the face of adversity, self doubt, and a feeling of unworthiness comes a feeling of triumph over the void. A triumph of the will and sheer force of it over that which cannot be seen by the naked eye but that which you know is just there below the surface…lurking…always waiting to show up again. You become the Guardian of your soul, for if that ever fails you, then the Journey ends…now. The moment you suspend the belief in yourself, others, and deflate your will is the moment you die. To give up is the automatic one-way ticket to the Undiscovered Country. To hold on is to live…just one more day, moment by moment, in the moment itself learning about the moment and its significance. THAT is the small piece on the canvass…THAT is embracing the very thing that you never thought you would. You accept it; you start to deal with it, and you move on.
And you NEVER EVER EVER give up. Not for a moment, for there is always life in every moment, no matter how small. There is always revelation in moments and understanding in days. There is strength and courage and determination where you never thought existed. There is empathy for those of your own kind; those who understand the time between the moments and how it all plays out…but before our illness we were blind to this existence. Now we see it…clearly…and the road ahead is hard, but it is a road. There is a Journey. And there is LIFE…
“We’ve lived too long, seen too much. To live on, as we have, is to leave behind joy, love, and companionship because we know it to be transitory; of the moment. We know it will turn to ash. Only those whose lives are brief can believe that love, is eternal. You should embrace that remarkable illusion. It may be the greatest gift your race has ever received.” -Lorien (Babylon 5) / J. Michael Straczinski