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Lessons of the Angel of Death

Lesson 7 - Spiritual Hounding

I titled the fourth of my published meditations: "May I Be A Cancerous Survivor?" Little did I know how cancerous I was as I was writing it. In the process of writing that meditation what I shared with people is that this business of my existential wonderings and questionings had actually had an effect on me that I had not anticipated. Allowing death to haunt my life opened me up to an experience I hadn't had since I was a child. And that was the experience of the presence of God in my life. When I was in high-school, the poem "The Hound of Heaven", was the most spiritually awakening thing I had ever read. Why? Because it fit my experience of God. I had no idea who God was. I had no idea what God wanted from me. I had no idea how to pray. I had no idea what it meant that God existed. But there was one thing that I was damn sure of and that was that God was hounding me, was in my life whether I wanted him there or not. And there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. I couldn't shake Him no matter what I did. Hounding my life, always there, always at my head, always at my heart; hounding me all the time. So being open to death in that existential way, I discovered that I was leading a life that was now hounded by this spiritual presence. I don't want you to get carried away with that. Notice I didn't say anything about religion.

I still don't have a clue about God. But I do have, once again, this very powerful sense of the "thatness", of the "thatness of God". My sisters had a prayer gathering at one of their homes for me the day before I was to have some cancer treatment, and it spooked me so badly to think about going to a prayer service that I decided the only way I could possibly do it was to write my own damn prayer in self-defense. So I did. I had never written a prayer in my life. It's called "A Prayer in Celebration of our Fifth Last Christmas Together" and it's basically a prayer that tries to express what Pam and I have experienced in the last five years and how we think about that in terms of our relationship to our spirituality. Basically what the prayer says is: "Thank you, thank you, thank you God." It expresses our gratitude for what we've had, five years of incredible joy that we never expected to have, a gift the likes of which we never considered ourselves worthy; a gift of grace.

That's the end of the lessons, seven lessons. There may be more lessons to come. As my cancer "resurfaced" with a vengeance over the last few months, Pam suggested that we needed a new metaphor, so we switched from the metaphor of "journey," to the metaphor of "adventure" to underscore the notion that we have no clue what's coming. And story of our lives from November of last year until now has been totally unpredictable. As a matter of fact, if we figured out that if we wanted to engage in planning, the only thing that we could plan for is uncertainty, because that's what's in store. We are on a roller coaster ride the likes of which we have never know. So the lessons to come may very well have to do with control, with relinquishing my embodiment to the cancerous Bill. I feel like I am embodied but that the cancerous Bill is becoming the dominant partner in this dance of living/dying. The cancer seems to be leading the boy.