My mom called today and said she is going to have surgery in 10 days to remove her remaining breast. It seems like the cancer-tumor is local.
She is exhausted as are the rest of us, but given the situation’s severity this is by far the best outcome.
I had thought I would still be relatively anxious afterwards and think about what if they discover cancer-cells in the lymphatic system during the operation (a standard test)? Or if it comes back later?
But I felt relieved and as if things were almost normal, even though I know this is far from normal and we still have a difficult path to walk.
I guess that is human nature, to focus on living the days like they are normal, bereft of danger – even though you can and should maintain degrees of awareness of danger.
You can belittle this reaction and say it is a perfect sign of how weak and alone we humans are in a dangerous universe – that this is our emotional status quo, instead of confronting the unknown all the time (without doing it so much that we succumb to chronic anxiety, though).
You can begin to think about what other things we use in our daily lives to relieve ourselves from thinking about fear and danger – from television to religion.
Well, you can – if you are settled with such a mind as mine, which is not always a blessing. But you can also recognize this way of reacting, within reason, as a healthy, worthy way of dealing with life and its fears.
Because fear is an integral part of human life and it doesn’t matter that we are no longer living on the savanna looking over our shoulders all the time for saber tooth tigers. It doesn’t matter if we – as I do – have a more or less comforting spiritual world view and accompanying experiences (or beliefs that we have had certain experiences that confirms this view). It doesn’t matter if we are generally endowed with a very strong psychic condition whether from nature or from training, as certain special troops in the military many have, for example.
Fear is not something you eliminate from life. Even Jesus feared the cross. Joan of Arc feared the fire. We fear all the time.
Fear is not something you eliminate from life. It is something you learn to live with in better and better ways.
And fortunately, it is possible to do so and still have a good life.