Cancer: A Challenge and an Opportunity

When you're diagnosed with a life threatening illness like cancer, it can change your whole view of your life and your world.  If you're not careful, you may be tempted to fall into the “why me” question.  However, you can search endlessly for the answer to that question and may never find it.  Unless, that is,  you're thinking of your situation from a broader, more productive perspective, i.e. what can I learn from this experience?  The fact is, you have this disease so now what are you going to do about it?  You want to stay away from feeling sorry for yourself as much as possible.  Instead, how about using this as an opportunity to review your life, take an honest assessment like you've never done before and determine where you can make improvements.

If you regard life as a journey upon which you will encounter many lessons, and your job is to learn the lesson and grow from it, then you can regard cancer as your new lesson.  It's not a pleasant lesson by any stretch of the imagination but most lessons from which we learn are not.  Yet, this is a golden opportunity to move forward in a more positive, productive manner. In your self-assessment, have you thought about how well you communicate with others?  Do you take their feelings into consideration?  Do you listen, really listen to them?  Do you find yourself in the exact same set of circumstances where the faces, places, and events may differ but the theme is the always the same?  If lessons aren't learned, they're repeated.

A more productive course in dealing with any lesson is to be appreciative (yes I know this seems counter-intuitive) and then go within for the answer. Events in our lives give us the option to react in love or react in fear.  Fear based reactions include anger, resentment, defensiveness or even silence (depending on intent).  Such reactions are part of the human experience from which we all choose.  At the same time, they are opportunities for us to choose love.  In so doing, we must think with our heart and understand that when we’re offended for instance, our offender may be operating out of fear.  A love reaction requires just that, understanding the offense and responding lovingly.   As Dr. King says,”Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can.  Hate (fear) cannot drive out hate (fear): only love can do that.”  Those words ring so much truer with me now than ever before.  Life experiences have a way of making that happen when you’re receptive.  

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