There is no why or purpose or meaning…it’s just random: the freak accident, the odd turn of events, the baseless disease. And sometimes, it’s our turn. Sometimes we draw the card.
In the Fundamentals of Forgiveness, I describe gratitude using the illustration of “playing the hand you’re dealt.” It’s as if, each night while we sleep, the cards are gathered, shuffled, and dealt to your bedside table. You wake each morning and look at your cards. Most days, they’re ordinary. On rare occasions they’re spectacular or bad.
Regardless, we spend the day playing the hand we’re dealt…and we may choose to do so with gratitude.
Like millions of others, I’ve been dealt the cancer card. While I'm uncertain if I’m grateful for cancer, I’m certain that I’m grateful for what I’m learning because of it (healing power of relationships, importance of attitude, the sacredness of tears). It’s a humbling and challenging experience, surrendering imagined control of external forces while reclaiming ownership of health and happiness.
Lacking the risk factors and symptoms, my cancer seems like a random thing – outside my control. As I seek to heal the remaining tumors, I must choose – each day – to live in the gap between control and randomness: to accept, forgive, and love in life-giving ways.
My work reflects a relationship to the built world that shifts between control and randomness, strangeness and beauty, comfort and fear. David Allee (photographer)
Speaking of random, here’s a video just for grins and giggles (watch now)
If you’re looking for the meaning of life, here’s a recent reflection by Parker Palmer on the topic (read now)