Fear of Dying vs Joy of Living


More and more, I will get well not out of the fear of dying but out of the joy of living.

More and More I can understand that I can heal myself and live or I can heal myself and die, my physical condition is not an indication of my wholeness. – Belleruth Naparstek

Lately, I have thought more about these affirmations from the  Health Journey Guided Imagery to Fight Cancer.  Today they express the same sentiment as when I got sober years ago.  When active in my alcohol addiction, I knew I was dying a little bit more every day.  When I finally checked into a detox unit, I did so not from a fear of dying, rather, I saw a glimmer of hope in being able to live.  The past three decades proved a phenomenal witness to that hope.

I have come to the same understanding today with my cancer diagnosis.  I discussed with Emma, my wife, that I do not fear death – in fact, if it gets to the point where I can no longer get out of bed to sit on the back porch, then I am no longer interested in treatments.  And today, I seem a long way from that point.  My back and neck are less painful than one year ago.  I am finishing a round of stomach infection antibiotics that restored my appetite and relieved a good bit of stomach upset.  An endoscopy procedure this past week recovered tissue that might prove useful in developing a genetic-based treatment for my cancer instead of the eventual chemotherapy.

So yes, life is good today.

I realize the goodness is the reason for some of my pushback from the seemingly endless array of medical tests.  I was in a funk the couple days before the recent endoscopy procedure.  When my blood was drawn a week ago, I had a visceral reaction of disgust at being poked at one more time.  But I know the process is necessary.

I seem a bit of a schizophrenic these days.  There is the medical end of things.  And then there is riding my bike to the medical appointments; my Wednesday morning School for Contemplative Living group where we practice centering prayer and are now reading The Book of Joy; my Friday morning book discussion of It’s Never Too Late To Begin Again with a group of dear friends; spending time with Emma at our shop and home; serving the underserved at the Open Table; and much more, including sitting on the back porch with my dog writing this post as a steady rain pours on my winter crops in the back yard.

So yes, it is a joy in living that has sustained me through years of recovery from my alcohol addiction and today is my hope of a life with Stage 4 cancer.

3 thoughts on “Fear of Dying vs Joy of Living

  1. Pingback: Healing in Addiction & Cancer | Process Not An Event

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.