Relinquishing Control and Relying on the Kindness of Strangers
My sweater of prayers continues to grow, Sunday’s MLB All-Star 5K was a great success and my virtual 5K passed $4,100 this morning. But, my team lost the World Cup, …oh well.
Understatement of the day: Living with cancer is a life-changing experience.
Like many in the male species, I believed I had control over my own destiny. Even when plans went awry, I believed I could engineer a solution entirely of my own devices. But cancer–in fact, any life-threatening disease–changes all that. I thought my rising PSA level would reveal some other prostate condition. WRONG. I believed my biopsy would come back negative. WRONG. I was convinced that my early intervention and surgery would put an end to my dance with cancer. WRONG again. The reins of control continued to slip through my hands and the cancer spread.
In the process, I learned to gain control of those things that I could–diet and exercise was a big victory with 38 pounds shed to date. I could also achieve greater control through research and becoming an active participant in my treatment planning. But, my biggest discovery in the process was realizing that peace can be found in actually relinquishing control and accepting that life happens. It’s filled with a bitter sweet mix of wonder and disappointment.
As a result, my frame of reference has changed for the better. Those things that used to send me into waves of frustration no longer matter. If we find a new scratch or dent on the car, …dents happen. If someone cuts me off on the freeway, I assume he has to get somewhere faster. If not, I just let his blood pressure rise and not mine, while hoping he doesn’t hurt someone in his frenzied quest. Perhaps my only real frustrations are those inefficiencies that waste time. Remember, for cancer patients timing and time are valuable items. I have also lost interest in things that really don’t matter. Sure, damaged hair, a broken appliance or getting a stain on your favorite piece of clothing–even The Netherlands losing the World Cup finals–are nuisances, but hey, they’re certainly NOT cancer.
In my lifetime I have always treasured my friendships and those who have touched my life. My cancer experience has deepened these ties and opened the doors to meeting so many more caring people in this world… folks whom I have never met have added me to their prayer chains and check in regularly to see how I am doing. Others, having never met me, contribute to my Virtual 5K , some even when they are far away on vacation in Prague. There is even a gentleman named Ron who practices Reiki healing and is a Canadian now living in Amsterdam. He will be sending me a healing package during my CT scan tomorrow. My sweater of prayers, healing and well wishes continues to grow with the help of loving friends, family and strangers.
Relinquishing control of the uncontrollable and relying on the kindness of strangers and friends is no weakness. It is a strength and rich source of comfort. Tonight, don’t turn on the late news before bed. You can’t control all of the bad news you might hear. Instead, take a moment to close your eyes and relax. Think of all your loved ones and special friends, including all the good people in this world whom you haven’t even met, and send them your blessings. You just might have a better night’s sleep.