As most of you know, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (blood cancer) five years ago. I have been up and down with an oral chemo drug. I have been off the chemo drug since October of 2022 when I decided I’d had enough and stopped taking it. The M-spike score is used to measure the cancer. My numbers have been stable for the last four months at 0.9 which is good under the circumstances.
I must confess that when I got the cancer diagnosis, I was surprised, but very comfortable with the diagnosis. I thought it would be my way out of a body worn out by congestive heart failure, asthma, COPD, neuropathy, nausea, diarrhea, poor circulation in my lower body, swollen legs and ankles, reduced mobility, and fatigue. Some of these things are caused by the cancer, others by the chemo, and still others by the “getting old syndrome.”
Fortunately, my mind is still intact, at least most of it. I can still reason and think creatively and deeply. However, my memory is struggling with word loss. I lose words in conversations and writing. Eventually they show up, however, but after they are needed.
I was hoping that this cancer would be my way out of the temporal body, but here we are, five years later, and chemo has done its job well. Much to my chagrin.
Now please don’t think that I am depressed or angered about still being present on this earth plain. It is not so. Cancer has only been one part of my journey. I still wake up in awe of being given another day and that I can still experience it in many ways. Still joy is to be had. I am content and at peace with my life. I will transition when Spirit says it’s time to take my leave.
However, I want to share a personal experience I had while engaged in contemplation with a mantra. I was focusing on a phrase, “I am one with the God Source and know the truth within me.” As I continued to contemplate what the truth might be that I need to understand, I got an impulse, like a silent voice. It was not audible though I heard it with my being. It said, “You don’t need your cancer anymore.” I said, “Say what?” and again, the silent voice said, “You don’t need cancer anymore. Release it.”
I continued to contemplate what that message might mean. Did it actually mean that since I didn’t need cancer anymore that it would be completely taken away from me? That seemed to be the logical conclusion. However, continued contemplation over the next few weeks revealed a different answer.
I was waiting for the results of my May lab work to see if my M-spike score had changed. When the results came, the M-spike score was still 0.9 as it has been the last four months. I continued my contemplation on the message. After a week or so, the answer came clearly as if coming from God directly. Hence, the conversation:
God: Your cancer was never about a way out for you. It’s about a gift that you received and how you would deal with it. There was never an intention to delete your mortality, at least not yet. Your journey continues, in spite of your maladies. Don’t depend on cancer to take you out. Release that energy that you gave to your hopeful demise and use it somewhere where you can serve the greater good. I’m not through with you yet. Stop trying to find a way to the other side. I haven’t built your ‘mansion’ yet. If something happens to you in the meantime, I’ll put you in temporary housing.
Curt: Okay then, but what can I possibly do to serve the greater good given the condition of my body and my inability to fully function? The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
God: What can you do, you ask? You Christians always think in terms of doing. Even when you meet one another, your first question is, “How are you doing?”
Curt: I believe that we Christians have been taught that serving the greater good by doing good works is an endless 24/7 task. After all, idol hands are tools of the devil, and is part of the Protestant work ethic. (It emphasizes that diligence, discipline, and frugality are a result of a person’s subscription to the values espoused by the Protestant faith, particularly Calvinism. The phrase was initially coined in 1905 by Max Weber in his book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.1
God: Oh my! Please, really? You are going to use that phrase of judgement to justify why you think you should always be doing? That phrase never came from me, but from your St. Jerome (4th century AD) and his Latin translation of the scriptures. This was also reinforced several hundred years later in a secular writing by the 14th century Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales.2 I never ever implied that notion that what your history has called the devil is blamed for idol hands. And for the Protestant work ethic, I would agree that your religion has perpetrated a reason and theology for always doing.
Curt: Okay, so what then is the point of doing, or serving, as the case may be?
God: What if it’s not about doing…but simply about Being?
God: Yes, being! You are a being, not a doing. A Human Being, not a doing being. The writer of the Psalms had it right, “BE still and know that I am God.” (46:7) You are so busy trying to do that you lose sight of the true nature of your being. You have heard the term, “stop and smell the roses?” (They are one of my most favorite flower creations.) Respect the gift of BEing that I have given you. You will find me in those moments when you commune with nature, wonder at the stars, watch children play, visit a zoo and see the wonder of my animals, and when you gaze at a sunset. You may see me sometimes in the doing, but you will feel me in the BEing. BE kind, BE compassionate, BE truthful and BE honest. BE loving and BE the joy you want others to BE. Every day, just BE all that you can BE. By BEing YOU, you will help resolve many of your world’s problems.
Curt: So, in Being the best ME I can BE is all you ask of me?
God: Now you are starting to understand, YES! It doesn’t matter about the physical condition of your body to BE all you can BE. Some days your BEing will be really good and active. Other days, not so much. It is not a competition but simply is to BE one day at a time. You don’t have to go out of your way to BE. As long as you are the best ME you can BE, there is nothing more you need to BE, because your being will always do what serves the greater good.
Curt: I believe I can BE that! Can we do this again?
God: Of course, you can! Yes, I’m always available. Happy Being
There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! (Romans 5:3-5, The Message, Eugene Petersen.)
- wikipedia.org: https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Protestant_work_ethic
- The Tale of Melibee, c1386: Therefore seith Seint Jerome: “Dooth somme goode dedes that the devel, which is oure enemy, ne fynde yow naunocupied.” https://fandom-grammar.livejournal.com/87421.html, by Whymzycal