A year ago today, right about this very moment that I'm typing, I was being prepared for surgery. I was having a small mass of cancer that was malignant removed from one of my kidneys. The surgery was not life-threatening. The only major risk was the possibility of removing the entire kidney because of potential bleeding with that type of surgery, but that didn't happen. As I was taken into the room and given the medication that put me to sleep, I was at peace. I was at peace because I had accepted my circumstances. Earlier that morning as I sat with my daughter in the waiting room, I reminded her I was at peace and that there was no reason for her to be in fear. It was the same I had told my son over the phone the night before. I was aware that I was in the hand of God. I believed in that moment that no matter what the circumstances were, in my heart and in my spirt I was at peace in the hand of God.
If I go back to December twenty-six years ago, I was in a similar situation with my mother who had just been diagnosed with cancer and had just come home from a hospital stay. She had contracted pneumonia and we really thought we were going to lose her. One day when she was strong enough to leave the house, I brought her to my home so she could see our decorated tree. I was married at the time and we were expecting our first child, and as my mother and I stood in front of the tree, she broke into tears and expressed her fear as to what was going to happen to her. And she expressed her fear she would not live to see my first child born. And in that moment, I was at peace. I looked into her eyes and held her hands and told her that at that moment she was in the hand of God, and that when the time came for my first child to be born, whether she was present there in body or not, she would still be in the hand of God. I remember the moment so well as I watched her whole complexion change as she drew a deep breath and surrendered to that thought and was in peace. She lived another ten years, and a few days before she died she woke up one morning as I was sitting at the foot of her bed, and I reminded her that she was still in the hand of God.
What does that mean – being in the hand of God? I can only share what it means for me. It means being connected to what it is I hold dearly as my experience of God, Spirit, a Higher Power. It's an experience that somehow I have had since my earliest memories even as a child – a sense of being connected to something beyond myself and much greater than myself and by which I am connected to all that is around me. That connection has become in recent years the core of my expression of my faith. I'm one of “those” people who have no tie to an organized religion and would say I'm spiritual and not religious, if religion means a system of beliefs someone is telling I must abide by and practice. But I am nonetheless deeply connected to Spirit in a way that I live my life in keeping with that connection. And I have come to understand the responsibility of recognizing that connection and its power in using it to help others connect to their experience of being in the hand of God. I believe if we can find that place in our lives, we can find peace. And sometimes finding that place means letting go of other places, letting go of the past, the future, and focusing on the moment now. Because if we cannot find that place in this present moment, I think we struggle finding it at any other moment.
I have been reminded by two doctors that the cancer I had was the type that would have never been discovered normally until it had spread to different parts of my body and then become a more serious problem with which to deal. It was discovered because of a fluke – I encountered a bacterial infection in my last few days in Peru probably from something I ate, and I wouldn't have even been there had I not made a decision to leave the comfort of my surroundings in a desire to go more deeply into my connection with Spirit. I am grateful I had the courage to make that decision, and I am grateful for that infection I may not have encountered had I not made that trip. And during that whole time I was conscious that I was in the hand of God.
So today, I am grateful that I am aware I am in the hand of God. I don't know where this body in which I dwell will be tomorrow, but I hold deeply to the belief that I, my spirit, the essence of who I am, will be in the hand of God. That shapes my days and my moments and I hope that my words allow you pause to think about your connection and your place in the hand of God.