Zen Koans and Bible Packages

Miss M Admires The Local Talent In Nashville

Riverboat Ridin’ at Opryland Resort

Back home today from trip # 2 on our Summer Tour of Gratitude and Giving Thanks.  We had an absolute blast in Nashville.

In the 4 short days I was there we squeezed in a bunch of Nashville attractions.  We went to the Adventure Science Center, Centennial Park, and the fabulous Opryland Hotel & Resort (which, If you haven’t been to already – you must go.  It is simply gorgeous…  an indoor oasis with rambling walkways, lush green vegetation, a river, boat rides, fountain shows, waterfalls, restaurants…  and of course the hotel.  Magical!)

And yes, we made it to church on Sunday – as requested.  And that too, was magical.  Within the first 5 minutes the tears were flowing…   With the soulful gospel music and all the love in the room I just couldn’t stop myself.  And then I thought, “Why even try to stop myself?  Just let it out!”  So I did.  I cried, I sang, I smiled at my neighbours, thought about my mom, and danced around with Miss M. in my arms.

The sermon itself was just what I needed.  A lesson in perseverance, never giving up hope, finding the answers within yourself, and recognizing your own power.  I am realizing that the passages in the Bible are just like Zen koans.  Big lessons stuffed in metaphorical and ambiguous little packages for us to figure out and incorporate.

Then the day after church, I learned about the death of Amy Rauch Neilson – a fellow blogger, terrific writer, mom, wife, and stage 4 breast cancer warrior.  She passed away on May 6, 2012 at the age of 43.  Way too young.

I thought of the sermon at church.  I questioned why another fabulous woman was taken away.  I wondered why some die and some live.  How does this get decided?  Do we have any control?  And again, I am forced to face the severity of my situation.  The average lifespan for people with my diagnosis isn’t all that long.  The percentage of folks who manage to stay alive for the long haul are few and far between.  I’m going to lose a lot of warriors in this journey.  This sucks.

It’s such a weird place to be – stuck in between two worlds.  Watching fellow soldiers go down while still clinging to the belief that I will be the miracle.  But why me?

Cancer is truly forcing me to live with a “beginner’s mind” as Suzuki Roshi would say.  No assumptions.  No judgements.  Just pure wonder and lots of questions.  No attachments to life being a certain way.  Just the here & now.  The present moment.  A challenge to live by my ideals and practice what I preach.

Cancer is a teacher.  Some twisted Zen koan that I have to figure out.   All I know is that in this moment I feel good.  Today was a good day.  And I am praying for many more.

Peace. – T