Through a Glass Darkly

The difficulty that we have as humans is that we try to explain life in human terms, and so we are blinded by our limitations. There is a spirit world that we are not able to access,though from time to time we do encounter small connections with this world, enough to remind us that it exists.

Some years ago I had a dream – I dreamed that I passed from this world to the next. When I woke I knew “Now I understand”. Whatever I had experienced, I also knew that I had no way of comprehending it, or of remembering it as I would remember walking through a beautiful garden, for example. But I retained a memory of perfection, of the Absolute. That assurance has never left me.



Sometimes there seems to be a time when everything comes together, when all the small moments of your life, both the good and the bad, form a pattern, form a meaning. You seem to understand. You make a decision to stop being fearful, to allow your life to progress as it will, to accept each part of it as a piece of the whole. Is this wisdom? It is certainly peace.

“That Old Man Cancer”

Does a person ever survive cancer?  No.  Once diagnosed and treated, cancer is always with us, looking over our shoulder.

When we hear of a friend or family member who has cancer we are doubly stricken.  Not only do we fear for them, we fear for ourselves.  Cancer strikes when we don’t expect it. Cancer comes back. We are never safe.

We put everything that we have into life, perhaps a life we were not sure that we would be allowed to have.  But we never have trust, we never relax our vigilance.

Cancer took my closest friend.  It didn’t care that she was the kindest person I know.  It didn’t care that she was so close to finally having some security in her life.

Now cancer has come for the friend of my childhood, a woman I loved, a woman who brought herself from painful beginnings, who achieved a life, a family.

Tomorrow, cancer might come for me.  Again.

How do I make peace with this? Is it possible to live a full life under cancer’s shadow?  It has to be.  We have to be greedy, to take everything from life that we can.  Life is too valuable to waste time being afraid.  After losing her daughter, an elderly lady said to me, “That old man cancer, he takes everything.”  Well, old man cancer, I spit in your face.  I am going to live, whether my time is long or short.  I am going to live.


An Explanation

My sister asked me to explain the title of this blog, Breaking Through The Paper Hoop. At first I could not remember where the words came from, though I know I have had them in mind for several years as a book title. I was looking back through some poetry the other day and I found the reference. Like many others, this poem comes from my hospital experiences, which could be a time of great pain. It symbolizes hope and determination.

I am the one
Who picks up garbage in the dayroom,
The maladaptive thinker –
I pace,
And pace.
The staff has asked me
Not to go beyond
The station,
Fearing a great escape.
I am the lion-tamer locked in a cage
With lions leaping through hoops of flame,
I am the lion with bared teeth
Breaking through the paper hoop.