The tree above represents more than I can convey in words. It is a visual reminder of where I am, what I face, and what the end of my journey may be. It is also an image of hope, possibility, potential, and promise. It is the symbol of life overcoming death. It is the symbol of renewal and vitality that comes with the birth of the new. It embraces its past while building upon it to create a different future. This is where I stand at this moment.
I have been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. There is no promise of a cure. Death and adversity are at the edge of my consciousness watching. The future will be as it will be. My choice is to use whatever there is of it in the best way I can to love and serve others. That is my intention and my quest. It has many different manifestations. I have a range of options available to fulfill my purpose as revealed in the clarity, awareness, and truth gifted to me in an instant on Valentine’s Day, 2021. Over the days, weeks, and months that have followed, I have watched the wall of fog recede as my consciousness evolved. I am in awe and gratitude for this gift.
To help you understand, I will share what another more famous person who had a similar moment said about his experience:
“I had an experience I cannot prove; I cannot even explain it. But everything
that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real.
I was part of something wonderful, something that changed me forever.
A vision of the Universe that tells us undeniably how tiny, and insignificant, and how
Rare and precious we all are. A vision that tells us we belong to something greater
than ourselves. That we are not, that none of us is, alone. –Carl Sagan
Sagan’s words echo across time and space, revealing the simplicity of truth. We fail to see because our reality serves as a veil that becomes an opaque barrier we cannot see through. We are trapped by the very nature of the world we’ve constructed. To see through the veil, we must dismantle the reality we believe, adhere to, and uphold. The lens we see our world through. We need insight and clarity. We need to be in this moment. We need to abandon what we’ve known and what is comfortable, warm, and reassuring.
Our lives are a journey into an unknown future accompanied by three companions whose presence we either treasure or try not to recognize nor acknowledge. They are death, adversity, and hope. They are never far away, one or another often intruding and interrupting our journey for good or ill. Fortunately, we have hope as our ally in our third companion. Hope, a little four-letter word so filled with possibility. It is with us and is the buffer between our other two companions. The challenge we face is to always be flexible, adaptable, aware, open, and willing to surrender to the direction our journey takes us.
We do not quit when challenged. We do not give up, but we surrender. Surrendering is a different proposition. Surrendering allows us the means to overcome, persevere, and grow to be more than we were before meeting and surmounting the adversity we are faced.
We must take to the road of the twisted path and unknown adventure with death and adversity always following close by. We often have help from friends and family, but we face these two companions alone. Who we are and what we become have much to do with our interacting with them. We grow only by facing and overcoming the obstacles they place in our path. Resilience, a positive attitude, and focusing on living life to its fullest in this moment, are our most powerful weapons in overcoming their menace.
To make matters more interesting, I learned from my doctor that my form of lung cancer is caused by a mutant gene. Being told this, I smiled. But of course, it would have to be a mutant, a rogue. A mutant gene explains why I’m facing this challenge. The rebel. The outlier. The non-conformer, a mutant that answers the call of its own selfishness. It is a metaphor for all we must face. Let the journey begin. Love and serve. Namaste
Also on Medium: Jerrymlawson.medium.com