I got pretty emotional at church today. It was a great service given by my friend Father Frank, and as usual his sermon spoke to me.
I don’t usually talk much about my “religion.” It’s such an intensely personal part of each person, and I have to admit I’ve often seen more “holiness” from the humble than from the person who speaks of his religion only to use it against those whose beliefs or way of life is different. Or perhaps it goes back to that old adage that it is impolite or just plain stupid to talk about politics or religion…either way you are offending someone or inviting conflict.
However, it seems important this time to write about my religion, as it has weighed so heavily on my mind since I was diagnosed. I would be skipping a huge chunk of how cancer has changed me if I didn’t bring up my thoughts on God. If for no other reason, when I look back on my emails chronicling my cancer journey, it will be a reminder as to where my thoughts were on this subject when my life was at such a turning point. And really, does anyone journey through this life without reflecting somewhat on how their spirituality has impacted them?
So forgive me if I offend or indulge my possible political incorrectness.
I need to confess (classic Catholic), there have been many attempts on my behalf to brokerage deals with God since I was diagnosed in August. Those first few weeks it was please – I just want to live to see my kids off to college…and then as my prognosis became more positive, more simple requests like, no headaches today please, and (especially now) faster hair re-growth would be nice, God.
Funny too, how my perception (visual and otherwise) of God has changed. To myself, raised Catholic, He was the classic older white haired man in a flowing robe, wearing a stern look that scared me as a child. It wasn’t until my son mentioned to me that his God looked like Morgan Freeman (think Evan, Almighty) that it occurred to me that everyone probably visualizes Him/Her differently. Which takes me back to my theory that He means something different to everyone too. Hopefully, my religious views have evolved, and like my children I can see Him as a kinder, gentler God.
In addition, my relationship with religion has changed. It is on my mind more and I feel like He is listening to me. Admittedly, I often had better conversations with Him alone in the car then at mass with at least two children leaning on me and two pre-teens too embarrassed to hold my hand during prayer. I needed to ask His patience for so many requests this year. And to be patient with those who love me the most who are still very mad at Him.
The point of all these thoughts is that as I sat in that pew today, I did have time to reflect on the success of my chemo…hence the emotion. I did hear back from my surgeon that my reaction was fantastic…it greatly improved my prognosis and it was even suggested that it was a medical miracle. So, as surgery approaches I have some trepidation, but honestly am much more at peace with this next step.
Who do I have to thank for both of those gifts? For sure, an incredible medical community and the gift of access to that. Without a doubt, the support of friends and family who conversed with God on my behalf. (In fact, I get a kick out of my image of Him sitting on a gold throne in heaven saying, enough already Eau Claire…I know about her.) Also, I’d like to think, a life of healthy habits including eating well and yoga.
And thanks to God…whatever you look like.