I will return from Mexico (a vacation we planned a year ago. What fortuitous timing!) to meet with a surgeon and do a biopsy on what looks like Lymphoma. It’s been wild to witness the veritable dumptruck of medical advice and horrible theology that people are offering me. It makes me wonder if my cancer scare is an offensive reminder to people that, yes, they too are going to die someday.
One of the big surprises to me so far has been the realization that I’m not afraid to die. You can say that, but you may not really know if it’s true for you until your doctor says “you probably have cancer” and it’s a “fairly large mass in your chest, lymphnodes, and right clavicle with an intermediate growth rate.”
I honestly can’t say that it made me afraid of “God” or eternity or heaven or hell AT ALL.
But it did make me curious.
About fucking EVERYTHING.
While strangers and acquaintances medicate their own mortal fears by trying to “calm me down”, I’ve been more interested in the emotional impulse that arises in us all around the topic of death.
Death. Such a gift. The cradle of our love of life itself! And to my great surprise, I feel a deep sense of calm about it.
Now to be sure, I wept a bit about my family.
My parents. Fuck. Awful.
So not fair for a parent to fear for the life of their kid. To out live their kid. Its reality, yes, and a countless many have lost a child. I’m just saying it’s shitty.
My kids. Argh. I wanna be around for all the things….
My wife. Jesus Christ, my wife…..
My wife is the absolute love of my life! I’m pretty convinced we have been lovers perhaps over multiple lifetimes. If that freaks you out – relax! I don’t care if it’s true. Just the very suggestion resonates deeply within that part of me that longs to know her more every day like an animal dying of thirst.
In fact, I realized that she is the only thing I do KNOW.
I know I love her. It’s the most primal, true, unfiltered, honest, embodied, experiencial part of me. No ideology or otherwise could convince me to reject the truth of our love. I feel SO lucky to have married my absolute best friend who I not only love, but respect, stand in awe of, can’t wait to discover more of, deeply desire relationally and sexually, and grew up alongside. We literally raised each other. Dating at 16 & 17 and married at 19 & 20. We are soul mates and soul friends.
So yes its true that we have shed tears, especially in the first week and in the absence of a clear prognosis.
I am not afraid. Truly.
It’s gonna be annoying to deal with treatment – whatever it ends up being. And I certainly plan to beat this shit.
But I’m not afraid to die. Because I don’t think that this universe is an unfeeling accident, nor do I see it as a broken frail bootcamp for seeing who “makes the cut” to go to the “after party” of heaven. Religion has spent so much energy trying to convince us that the real show is AFTER this.
Really???? After this?! Gawd, how did we let people convince us this isn’t enough? No doubt, it has helped humanity build incredible monuments to our religious iconography and justify the way we treat the “unbelievers” of every thought system, but it’s just bullshit if you just sit back and open your eyes at life! Maybe theres a heaven kinda place, but this miraculous Earth is no shitty waiting room.
Have you ever seen a child born into the world? Have you been to a Chili-Peppers show at the Gorge? Have you ever seen the sun set from the top of a mountain peak? Have you ever marched with tens of thousands of other people to bring life to the world you believe is possible? Have you ever cried so hard you gagged at the depth of the pain in your heart? Have you ever been so in love that you forgot where you stopped and they began?
Life is enough for me.
And I’m so grateful for it.
And I’m not afraid.
I don’t plan on dying soon. I’m going to be ok. But this whole health scare thing has reminded me to live fully, to love wastefully, and to be all that I can be because I don’t feel entitled to ANY of it. I’m just honored to be invited in. To be included in this whole being alive thing.
I plan to die grateful, smiling, at peace, and pumped for what’s next.
Just not today.
As the story of resurrection seems to point out in the Jesus narritive, we are simply going to change forms as we transition to what is next.
Quantum Physics seems to be echoing that, at least as far as we know, matter isn’t going anywhere …and all matter is just energy in different forms. So the next is just a bit of a shape shift of form… all in what I believe to be (metaphorically) the loving arms of the great Form-less one. The one beyond all forms. The very Ground of Being.
So maybe we don’t have to be afraid of transition? It’s ultimately a safe universe. No, not for the ego small self, but for your true self, it is. What’s next is good. Another adventure to surrender to love and goodness.
Nobody really knows what that looks like. (And beware of those who are sure they know. There is likely to be a monthly fee for their “help”) but no matter how the details iron out, we need not be afraid of this infiite journey of becoming which is good beyond measure.
Even though I’m often accused of not being a Christian anymore, I still love the Jesus story because its truth is far deeper than literalism. Whether you think a dead guy walked out of the grave, or an ethereal ghost-spirit did, or it was just a story conveying a metaphorical point, this at least is true;
YOU CAN’T KILL LOVE.
You try to crucify love and love will rise again.
And here’s the kicker…your essence? You know that part of you that is indestructible, that knows things in a way your brain never will? I think that’s LOVE. It’s who you really are at the end of it all.
For from the light you came and to the light you will return.
We learn to bow our heads in awe,
to laugh in astonishment,
and ultimately… to become love.