Lessons in Acceptance

When my eldest sister was diagnosed with acute leukaemia and given a month to a year to live, I had to scramble to be there for her. You see, I was deathly afraid of hospitals, and almost fainted the day she had her spinal tap. I had to find a way to conquer my phobias and help her.

Someone suggested a conference being offered at our local university, on death and dying. I signed up. It included a weekend workshop with Dr. Bernie Siegel, author of Love, Medicine, and Miracles.

While there, I heard about Reiki – a system of balancing energy. I signed up for that too. Soon, I was meeting every Wednesday with practitioners of a variety of “healing” backgrounds. I became a workshop junkie, attending every retreat and conference and absorbing it all.

My sister thought I was nuts and would have none of it. I, however, was undergoing a vital transformation and embarking on a path that would encompass my life. I cannot begin to describe how rich and fulfilling those years were. I was very blessed.

And I was poor. The dichotomy got to me. It was not enough to do such soulful work, I had to support my family. So, I went back to school and became a teacher.

And then, I got sick. Too ill to work. I thought I had lost it all…until things started to get worse, and I had a little talk with the Divine Being upstairs.

“I accept that I’m not in control,” I conceded for the millionth time in my life. “I accept that you have a different plan for me.”

It’s not cancer. It’s yet one more rare and incurable disease to add to my list, but at least there is a treatment for it.

And later today, I’m going next door, where family has gathered to watch their father die. I have offered my services.

(My challenge this week is acceptance. Won’t you join me?)

What Do You See? Wings!

I used to think that the relentless ache between my shoulder blades
was from missing wings.

We are meant to be angels on earth, I believed.

And then, I forgot, so caught up in the details of life, consumed with ambition, and then facing the daily struggle of chronic illness.

Until  I saw this image.

Oh, I know it is just a leaf,
dried and disintegrating, barely holding it together.
But is it not also wings?  Look how it’s outline forms a heart;
how intricately its surface is woven, like lace.

My wings would look like this – delicately held together, damaged beyond flight, but not so frail that I cannot still don them, remember my essence, recommit
to a life of service.

Nature holds secrets –
reminders of our purpose –
calling us to serve.

(Willow Poetry offers a weekly challenge: What Do You See?  The featured image is this week’s prompt.  Photo credit:  Hélène Vaillant)

Thoughts on Service

Let me offer a few thoughts that were first planted in me by a Religious Studies teacher at university:

If we were meant only to serve ourselves, we would all be born as islands.

Love cannot exist where there is power over, however; love exists for all when we serve one another.

While his words stayed with me, unfortunately, his name did not.  But he did inspire me to ask myself:  How can I be of service today?