On my flight home from Madison, I was reading James Herriot’s Cat Stories. The stories had a lot of heart and I found myself teary-eyed over a few. Especially one about an older man who was dying of cancer in a clinic and the last words he called out were that of the name of his cat repeatedly. I felt sad that this man had to die alone (his cat was not permited in the clinic) and it hit me like a thunderbolt that relationships are THE thing in life that we all need. More important than anything else. When I was diagnosed with cancer six years ago, and before I even knew what kind of cancer I had, I sat stunned on the grass in a park and thought what would I want to do if I were to die in a month. I had planned to leave in a few short days for a month’s trip to Europe. That no longer seemed valid to me – if I were dying, I wanted to go home and spend my final days with my family. This was somewhat of a surprise to me since travel had always been my big passion.
I think we all need to feel some connection to others. Perhaps that is why so many human beings believe in a higher power of some sort. Otherwise, it would be too lonely to be here on our own. Anyways, while on my travels, visiting with old friends, I delighted in the uniqueness of each of them – from energetic and spunky, to determined and bold, to sweet and courageous, etc. Each person offered up their special qualities. I felt blessed to know them and that they graced me with their presence – with their TRUE selves, because they felt comfortable being with me and I with them. I wish to thank them especially, and all my friends out there in general – you know who you are! – for entrusting me with your wonderful genuine selves. May we still have a good long time to celebrate each other! Amen.