My brother David finished his radiation and chemotherapy treatments several months ago. So, when we were invited to gather at his home for Thanksgiving this year, I had to go. We had weekly e-mail updates about his condition, but he couldn’t talk, so I hadn’t heard his voice in months. It seemed everyone felt the way I did, because twenty-four of us gathered at his home to celebrate.
Our hands were joined in prayer before the meal, and David spoke. I hadn’t remembered him taking such a lead before, but it felt like he waited a long time to say the words, forced from a throat ravaged by radiation. He said thank you; to all of us who sent cards and prayed. “It was hell, but that really helped.” Tears were streaming down my face, and I opened to the sight of a man changed, from within. “I thought I knew God before, but I finally said, ‘Take me, or heal me”, and I began to get better.”
David continued to explain the appreciation he had for his wife; how his marriage improved. I was struck by what had moved inside of me as he spoke. God is real to David now, and I am delighted.
Those of us blessed to know and study the deeper mysteries, understand that the awakening of our beings to the reality of God, is a joyous occasion. It feels like David has a solid, real connection with God now, and that often happens as a result of something apparently going wrong in our life.
I spoke with David later and he described how “useless” he felt as he was confined to his home during treatment, and the worries of his mind. He referred to his mind like a wild animal he had to tame. I felt a strength in him I cannot articulate, but he’s solid. He’s done resisting, and that’s what surrender is all about. It matters less to him where he works, what he has, and who he was before. He’s new now and opened to the reality of grace, and the truth of genuine humility and connection.
I love him differently now, and with great respect. There isn’t a word, really, but brave would do. I hate the war metaphors about dealing with disease. It seems he’s allowed himself to be vulnerable, confused, and scared. He’s asked for help, and received it. He’s solid, and I know he’s good; no matter what happens.
This type of transformation moves me to the core, and it happened at our Thanksgiving celebration. Things didn’t fall apart, as my dear friend Cynthia notes, they fell away, and what remains is radiant, and good.