Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gifts of a Different Sort by Ruth Smith Meyer

Birds of a feather flock together is a well-known adage.  There is evidence of its truth all around us.  Nationalities, alma maters, family ties, occupations, denominations and more give us reasons to identify with a certain group of people.  We are born into some of these circles, some we enter by choice.   Now and then we are yanked from one of our circles of comfort and thrust into one that isn’t of our choosing. Those on a cancer journey are a motley and varied crew, but another such flock none-the-less. 

The chemo unit isn’t exactly and up-beat place to be, but during our regular times of waiting for treatment and during the slow drip of poison entering the bloodstream,  a sense of camaraderie slowly develops.  We, patients and spouses or loved ones who accompany the patients, become a somewhat cohesive flock.  Some are just starting treatment, and some are just about finished with their prescribed series but there are many veterans who are back for the second or third rounds.   Among all the reasons for fear and heartache, one could expect to see bitterness and gloom. There are many moments of inspiration, for instead there are smiles of encouragement, calm acceptance and a quiet belief that all will be as it is to be. 

When people have gone through great difficulties, their lives are subtlety changed and they form a society of their own. There’s a level of understanding and connection that can’t be fully shared outside that circle.  There’s perhaps no greater symbol of this than the loud Bo-oing of the large gong that a cancer patient sounds at the end of their treatment and the spontaneous cheer and clapping of a waiting room full of fellow-travelers.  That gong sound isn’t bragging, but  a deep thankfulness born out from a  recognition of how tenuous life and breath are and for that, for the time, the battle has been won. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a similar gong to sound to mark other moments of success in our lives, and to hear the claps and cheers of fellow travelers!

I guess that is why we have The Word Guild Awards, but that recognizes only the few whose works win out over others that may have just as or more lasting effects on other’s lives. 

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Ruth, thanks for sharing these thoughts from Paul's and your current experience. What a profound reality -- of finding the strength and joy of community in the midst of suffering and uncertainty. May the peace and joy of Christmas go with you into a blessed and happy New Year.

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