This place where I’ve been for the past 2.5 years, recovering from leukemia and stem-cell transplant gives me pause to think about how best to use the extra time gifted me…something meaningful and impactful. Prior to this illness, I believed the life I was living would last forever. But I was so wrong! Life changes in an instant, and most of the time, it is shocking and catches you completely unaware. There is no way to prepare for such life changes. For me, I never questioned “why me” but I did and still do ponder and question, “why don’t criminals get this?”
“This place where you are right now, God put on the map for you.” This quote is from a book…a memoir I read of a woman and her family’s journey from Afghanistan to the United States called ‘The Broken Circle.’ At first, I thought, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me!” How could a God, who is supposed to be good and kind, want anyone to go through leukemia and stem cell transplant or other confounding life-altering circumstances?! Can something good come out of something so damaging? There’s a scene in the Batman Begins movie where the young Bruce Wayne falls into a dry well and his father eventually rappels down to rescue him. As the father is carrying young Bruce back to the mansion, the dad takes the opportunity for a teaching moment by saying to Bruce,
“Why do we fall? So we can pick ourselves up again.”
Maybe life is no more than a lottery, one where you can’t control how you enter this world, or what diseases you eventually are subjected to. But you do have control over how you respond to them and how to learn from them.
I believe the lesson to life-altering events is to be more open, transparent, and learn so we grow into better human and spiritual beings.
Hafiz is a Persian poet who lived in Iran from 1315 – 1359. Some of his other prose is: