Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Maximally true

I just spent an hour researching the definitions of terms like maxim, saying, proverb and cliche. It's tricky stuff and there appears to be lots of overlap in meaning and usage. I'm not sure it matters what they are called. Everyone recognizes the format and has experienced the underlying truth behind the tired words.

Two people from far away have reached out to check on me today. I have only the slightest acquaintance with each of them - one I have never met in person. It means a lot to feel that my web of support is so large. And it helps to have to respond to each note I receive. I process a little of the truth and a little of my intention each time I do so.

I had just finished writing replies to my far-flung correspondents when I received an email from a woman who lives in Nova Scotia and who I have met no more than ten times. She told a story about a long-term health challenge that is now behind her. This is not the first time I have heard something similar in the last two weeks. It helps to hear these previously hidden stories. They make me feel less alone. She ended her email this way:

And what you will be left with is a better "you"...not to say this is a "gift" as it sure as hell isn't that, but you can relate to anyone going through anything after that...and that isn't a bad thing, and you appreciate life, and death, in a less abstract way, filling to live one well and accept the other better.

That's something you hear a lot so I guess it qualifies as a cliche or maxim or expression. My experience so far, a few weeks into this cancer thing, is that it is certainly true.

I have written a couple of articles for ICA which include references to the effect of contacts from friends and others. I know it is difficult, in the words of a friend, for "the ones looking in" to know what to say. I'll sum up my experience to date. It matters that people outside my bubble contact me. It doesn't matter what they say. If you find yourself in the position of writing to someone in a crisis, don't overthink it. "How are you?" will suffice. The maxim (or whatever you call it) "It's the thought that counts." will never be more true.

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