Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cancer: It can save your life?

A statement like that would have made no sense to me a few weeks ago. So many of Bobsey's friends, myself included, have been battling frequently for an explanation of what happened; a reason for why he did what he did. But there have been a small number of people who, at some point in their lives, sat in the same seat as Bobsey and saw the world from a similar perspective. These people have provided a glimpse down the hole some people find themselves descending into. They also provided the tools that are needed to climb out. In the more typical case, it's a question of recognizing that the climb out can take as long or longer than the slide down. And that changing your perception and opening yourself to the world is tremendously important. The less typical solution?

Get cancer.

Yes, you heard me correctly. Recently I was telling a fellow survivor about how sad I've been lately thinking about Bobsey, and she mentioned that she too had found herself face to face with the most fundamental existential question - why is my life worth living? She felt as though she did not contribute sufficiently to the world around her, and that there was no reason to exist. Life was hard, death was easy, the answer was simple. Until she was diagnosed with cancer. Somehow, facing death so directly, but not instantaneously, also forced her to face life. She gained a new best friend in gratitude, and began to love herself. Her pain could have led her down the dark well where her only solution would be permanent. Ironically, cancer illuminated a pathway back to the surface, allowing her to appreciate all that she has available to her. Except, maybe, the cancer itself....

1 comment:

  1. E-
    A VERY interesting take on the "existential dilemna", life threatening illness and the will to survive.
    I personally have found that adversity is generally a distraction from the existential dilemna, and have been tying that to a general need in most people to challenge ourselves - not simply for the satisfaction that comes with (new) accomplishment, but perhaps also for the distraction that it provides from the big central question of "why am I here?"

    In other words, life is purposeless except for the purpose that we give it (or, in the case of adversity, the purpose that difficulties thrown in our path provide to us).