Finding the blessing


I often check the WordPress dashboard of this blog to see what search terms people are using when they stumble upon Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer. I am interested to note a number of readers lately have been searching for the pearl quotation which I added a few months ago:

“A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life….The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl”.

This brings to mind something that Jon Kabat-Zinn said during his presentation at the spiritual care conference  I attended last week. Upon reading John O’Donoghue’s poem Blessing, he told us that the word “blesser” in French, meaning to wound, is similar to the English “blessing”, which according to my dictionary, comes from the Old English “to bless, wish happiness, consecrate”.

To take this a step further, I came across an African saying: “the blessing is next to the wound” which also resonates with me and my search to find the deeper meaning cancer has in my life. Certainly the after effects of cancer leaves us with many wounds of a  physical, mental and spiritual nature.

For many cancer survivors, especially in the immediate post-treatment phase, feelings of fear and uncertainty about the future may predominate.  A search for meaning in their illness is one way to try to reduce this fear and uncertainty. Finding meaning may be a way of making sense out of life after cancer.

For me, I tend to view my life as LBC (life before cancer) and LAC (life after cancer) and it has led to a strong  desire to make sense of my cancer experience. This is not the case for everyone but for those of us who have this sense it becomes a journey of discovery and often leads to a sense of urgency or a desire to restore some meaning to life, before we have to face death again.