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Greater Than Our Suffering

emamei's picture
Posts: 146
Joined: Feb 2011

Hello fellow Pink Sisters. I wanted to share something with all of you. I've been writing through my breast cancer journey since it began last year. I keep more than a journal, I blog online. When I started the blog it was primarily for me to have an outlet to express every step of this journey and how I'm trying to come to terms with and learn from each step. The secondary reason for keeping my blog is to allow extended family and friends to keep up with it all.

I wrote a piece back on January 11th called Greater Than Our Suffering. Out of all the pieces I've written, all the daily entries, this one piece gets the most traffic of people viewing and reading it.

I hadn't re-read it since I posted it in January, that is until this morning. I needed to re-read it, especially now in light my having to have a mastectomy on June 1st. I want to share this post with all of you here.

“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.” —Ben Okri (b. 1959); poet, novelist

I came across this quote today and it made me really stop and think. I have overcome many things in my life and have lived to tell the tale, quite literally. What I am facing and going through now at times feels greater than me, insurmountable. Especially with every setback. I am however enduring the worst this journey has to offer and waking up each day, facing each day, believing that somehow I will find the strength to get through it.

Some people have asked me if I believe in God? If anyone had asked me this question 12 years ago, I would have said without doubt yes. So, what has changed? Organized religion has left me deeply disillusioned.

I believe that part of our human makeup is a spiritual side, not to be confused with religion or religious beliefs. I do believe that there is a greater energy than ourselves. Do I believe in the mainstream religious accounts of how mankind was created? No. I believe more in what science has to offer for such explanations. Some say that science is arrogant, egotistical and Godless. Not true, even science believes that there is an energy greater than ourselves and many scientists are deeply spiritual.

I do not believe in religious dogma offered by organized religion. I am not an atheist, nor an agnostic. I have called myself Christian because that is the primary influence in which I grew up with. However, I have also studied many eastern beliefs as well. I believe at their core, all religious belief structures have very worthwhile principals and practices in which they offer the world. Do I believe that God (as that word is understood) will heal me of my cancer? I don't know. Most Christians tell people that to believe is all a matter of faith. I have heard this quote "faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen". What does this mean exactly? I think it is open to interpretation, but for me it could mean that I have faith in my doctors and my treatment, I hope for a complete cure and the evidence is what is transforming on the inside of me that cannot be seen. I don't know if that makes sense or not. It does to me. Again, it is open to interpretation.

I have seen many people pray for healing, miracles, etc., and the people for whom they prayed for do in fact heal, sometimes quite miraculously, and other times, despite all of the heartfelt prayers, the person for whom they are praying becomes more ill, and passes away.

I believe in the positive energy that prayer produces and I believe that the human mind on a deep psychological level has the capacity to heal the body and mind. I believe that maintaining a positive state of mind is imperative to one's own healing.

When my daughters ask me "is there a God", my answer is that many people believe there is a God, and that I believe there is a higher power greater than ourselves, a higher energy and force. Whether that means that God is a person, I don't know.

So, I choose to focus on the positives, the energies that are beneficial, and the qualities that represent these from all beliefs. Do I have my dark days, yes. It is impossible to ride a positive high all the time, it is not within our nature. The important thing is I recognize those dark days and moments and try very hard to pull myself through them. So far, so good, but it is a struggle.

Maria A. January 11, 2011

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