Being in a hospital bed gave me an abundance of time to ponder my future. After a morning visit from my surgeon, I knew that I had at least a day before we would find out what type of tumor they had removed. He explained that he was puzzled because he couldn't readily identify it during surgery, which he was most often able to do. After Dr. Schink left my room, I asked Jessica to contact Francis, my spiritual teacher, and tell her about my surgery and ask if there was an opening for me to come on retreat as soon as I felt strong enough to travel. I knew that flying to California wouldn't be an easy trip, but I trusted my feeling that now was the time to begin making sense of how to best handle what was happening in my life.
There's a degree of irony when considering that before the discovery of the tumor, I felt much too involved in my busyness to go on retreat that summer. I was taking classes toward my Masters, working at Talbots, private tutoring for students in reading and math, and spending time with my first grandchild. Isn't it interesting how quickly my priorities shifted when confronted with cancer? The 11cm tumor was my brick wall...the thing that finally drew my attention away from the plethora of inane commitments that consumed much of my time and energy. Could I have been so engrossed in creating and maintaining my idea of a perfect life that I had lost the sense of what is of true importance in leading an authentically fulfilled life?
I received two treasured gifts for my trip to the hospital, one being a Demdaco Angel of Strength from my daughter, with the inscription "Be strong, and when you can't, let me be strong for you"...Love, Jessica. The other was a hand-knit little acorn from Susie. Having grown up on Oak Court, I had shared with her the strong connection I felt to oak trees for their power and strength, and to the acorn for the new life it represented. As I clutched this hand-knit acorn and read the inscription from Jessica, I was reminded that I already had support close to me, and all that I needed in my uncharted journey ahead would be provided.