Seven years ago, my father kicked Cancer’s ass. Two weeks ago, he learned that the Cancer has come back with a vengeance. His Prostate Cancer is now in his bones. It’s stage four and it’s really bad. They are treating it aggressively and perhaps the treatment will work. Maybe he’ll beat Cancer all over again. And maybe he won’t.
The news has me thinking about my father and all the things I’d like to tell him. I’d like to give him some pointers on living the remainder of his life to its fullest. If his time is limited (which isn’t all of ours?) then I want him to be unimaginably happy during those final years, months, or days.
I wish I could remember where I first heard the term “radical forgiveness” so I could give credit, but I can’t. It was just what popped into my head when I thought about the kind of forgiveness needed now. I believe that holding onto resentments literally sucks the life out of you. That’s the last thing one needs when they are facing the prospect of death. So, Dad, forgive the people who hurt you. Forgive the man who abused you, the brother who turned his back on you, the woman who cracked under the pressure and the women who failed at taking her place. Forgive the lazy people, the inconsiderate, the liberals and the government. Any pain or anger you are holding towards anyone or anything let it go. Forgive it all. It is hurting you way more than it hurts them.
And while you’re at the forgiving business, forgive yourself. If there is any regret or guilt you are feeling for anything in your past. Let it go. In each moment of your life, you have made the only choices you were capable of making at the time. The person you became after, the one who feels regret, was born as a result of the act. Therefore, that mistake made you a better man. There are no time machines and you are not the person you were back when you screwed up. Forgive that guy and bless him for making you better.
I know there are a lot of issues and causes that are important to you. I know you are proud of what you believe in, but for Peace’s sake, get off the soapbox and while you’re at it, douse it with some gasoline and light a match. Every time you get on that box you build a wall on one side and open a gate on the other. The wall makes it so you are incapable of seeing any value in the people on the other side and the gate lets in all those that agree with you so you can bathe in your anger, pride, and righteousness together. None of those emotions makes life easier to live and without knowing it you’re pushing away a lot of awesome people who’d love you so much if it weren’t for that damn wall. I think you’d find if you just stopped shouting and fighting and honored the fact that we all are way more alike than we are different, you’d get so much joy out of the remainder of your time here. Being happy really does feel better than being right.
Being raised Christian or even being in a Christian dominated society, we sort of knowingly (or not) fall into the mindset of original sin. Always in the recesses of our minds is the idea that we are only human and “only human” is inherently bad. We struggle day in and day out to fight against the temptation to be bad or we simply give into it. But what if we are NOT inherently bad? What if we are three parts human and one part divine? What if our very nature is GOOD? If you allowed yourself to believe that, let that seed grow in your consciousness; wouldn’t it make life easier to live? I, myself chose to embrace that idea some years ago and I must say that the temptations to “sin” have fallen away more and more as the seed has taken root. If you know that you are good it is incredibly difficult to be “bad.” If you know that you are divine it is so easy to see the positive in every situation. So, Dad, just for a little while allow yourself to believe that you are divine. When you no longer have to fight against “human nature,” life takes on a whole new level of peace and joy and all I want is for you to feel that.
The last advice I have for you, Dad, is to love. Love everything, the bad and the good. Look at the world as if you’ve just arrived from a planet that was cold and dark 24 hours a day year round. Look at your life and the people in it with a sense of wonder and love them like it’s your last chance because even though we all hope it isn’t…it could be.
For those of you reading this now, what advice would you give my father or anyone dealing with a terminal illness? Are there lessons you’ve learned that made life more joyful?
Love and Light,
Visit my website: www.lesleehorner.com
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