Friday, October 3, 2008

Spiritual Journey

I have been reading a book called When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chondron for well over a week. I usually devour books at a much quicker rate that that, but this one is proving difficult to get through. I'm not sure if it's just too deep for me or if I am just on way too many drugs these days to follow anyone's thought processes. But I like it so I am trying to stick with it.

One of the quotes in the book struck a powerful cord in me, "The spiritual journey is not about heaven and getting to a place that is really swell." I have always had a similar belief that each of us is called to be the most decent, honest, and loving person that we can be and that the journey toward becoming that person in of itself is an ethereal journey. Unfortunately, the journey makes no promises about one's ultimate destination or state of affairs. We want good things to happen to deserving people and bad things to befall those who are evil. Perhaps we cling to notions of heaven and hell because it tidies up something that is really a rather large mess: making sense of our existence on this planet where disparities in wealth, resources, love, food, basic sanitation, water, and a myraid other needs are so wide and deep. At times I have clung to the notion of heaven and hell just to have the hope that everyone ultimately receives their just rewards.

Over years of my illness, and especially over the last year, I have been aware of the journey that I am on. Looking back I realize how much I have learned about myself, my loved ones, marriage, motherhood, faith, friendship, and love. It has been an extraordinally difficult journey and I have wished it away many times, but I am grateful for it nonetheless. I feel as though I grasped some important truths during these past months that had previously eluded me. The irony is that I will not have a chance to use them.

I realize now that the entire journey -- birth though death and everything in between -- is worth the struggles regardless of the existence of heaven. I have reaped my rewards here. I loved life fully and I have no regrets.

But I still want there to be a heaven because I want to see my loved one again and want to meet my "cyber"friends who have cheered me on. And I'd like to think that all the people who had little in this life will be fulfilled in the next.


Chip said...

And I hope there is a heaven also, because when I eventually get there, I'll want to thank you, over, and over again. And I'll never be able to thank you enough.

Laurie said...

I'd figure that if there is a heaven, and if there is a God manning the gate, then if you just ask him how the whole access thing works then he'd probably tell you. It would suck if it turned out you were one deed short of the good list or if the grading curve were more strenuous than you had planned for. I mean this in full sincerity - I wish I could just tell you it's all gonna be alright. You are right though about the richness of this life - too bad most don't figure it out earlier.

Kelene said...


I think of you and your family so many times throughout the days and I pray that you find comfort and peace. I don't believe I have ever met someone as remarkable and with as much grace as you-you have touch so many lives by letting us into yours. God Bless you and your family.

Unknown said...

Hi cyber friends, I have created a Web-based prayer calendar for Michelle. If you are so inclined, please add your name to the date of your choosing. Let's pray for Michelle and her family in this time of transition.

Unknown said...

Michelle - I'm praying for you and your family with love and gratitude in my heart for the life lessons you've so freely given. I wish you a peaceful rest of your journey.
Much Love,

MrsSarahMurray said...

I wish so much that I didn't have to discover your blog and learn of your life because it is ending. I think you are an amazing writer and you put into words what all of us as mothers think. I think you have so much strength and you are realizing a mothers greatest fear, leaving your children, and you still manage to hang on with grace and class. I know all the words in the world are meaningless next to the pain you are feeling but I do wish you the best and I applaud your decision to have children. They will be much better people for having you as a mother. I hope you have peace and comfort these days and you are in my thoughts often.

desert dirt diva said...

yes i also will be looking for you in that other life...and reading your pages has enlightened me , and made me wake up to all kinds of diffrent things...

Shadeplant said...

I read your blog daily and have never found the courage to post you any words of encouragement or appreciation for what you have brought into my life, because I have felt like a voyeur. You don't know me. It somehow seems intrusive. Today, when I read your words "cyber friends", I thought that I wanted you to know that you must have many "cyber friends" out here like me, who cheer for you silently and appreciate the beauty and perspective you bring into our daily lives. Thank you for letting me come along on this journey, and I wish you peace on yours. You and your family are in my thoughts daily

Anonymous said...

Aloha. I too must confess to being deeply inspired by your blogs. You have such a beautiful way of describing life - the beauty, the pain, the dull, the precious.... really just everything. I think you have truly raised the bar for all who are reading your posts, whether they are in a similar situation or not.

I have found myself telling people about you (your blog) with details that surprise me. As someone else posted, it does seem a bit intrusive, but I am so thankful that you choose to share your amazing journey and to enlighten others as to how graceful and loving such a time can be.

Your children are so very lucky to have such a thoughtful and caring Mom. The gifts that you have chosen to give to them throughout their milestones are absolutely precious and I am sure will bring tears; of sadness, of joy, of comfort, of knowing how deeply their mother cared for them and wanted to be there with them. I only hope that when I have children, I am as thoughtful and selfless as you are.

Please know that you have truly changed the life of many with your stories... I know you have changed my thoughts now as well as the future.

I wish you the best... in whatever form that may be. :)

CathyB said...

Hello again, Michelle. The word I think of as I read today's post is Grace. You say that you are thankful for your journey because of the things you have learned. What has befallen you and your family is unexplainable, and I/we never understand "why bad things happen to good people". But looking back on your journey you are able to see all the blessings that you have received. I believe there is a heaven, my friend, and I look forward to our meeting. I wish you didn't have to go just yet, and I will miss your wisdom, your humor, your strength and courage. As I have said, and many others have said, your words have changed the lives of so many people. We don't always know what our purpose is for having lived. As sucky as it has been for you (the physical and emotional pain), I believe your purpose has been to enrich and change lives all over the planet. Thank you for bearing the cross that was laid upon you. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for changing my life. Hold on to your faith, and believe that there is a heaven. cathyb

C said...

The decision you and your family have made to remove the TPN is courageous. You are not a quitter. You are wise and brave. You have my, and many others complete admiration.

Madge said...

This is my first visit to your blog. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I believe the spiritual journey is all about the journey and not about the destination. Why are some lessons learned only in the worst of circumstances? stay strong.

Just Me said...

Dear Michelle,
This is the first time I am writing you since I found yr blog while doing a search on *Dying with Grace*.
I have been praying so hard for you, and the thing is I feel peace within me whenever I talk about you to Him.
I would like to share an experience a friend of mine went thru when she had to have her 4th surgery related to cancer. She said that there was this moment that she saw this other side, that it was so peaceful, so beautiful, so light, colours that she has never seen in her life, so much so that words could never fully describe that wonderful awesome feeling.
Later, she was told that her heart stopped during the surgery and she was revived again.
She said that that experience made her not be afraid of dying and that whatever she has accomplished on earth or didn't accomplish on earth will never compare to that awesome feeling she felt in her soul.
I just felt prompted in my heart to write you this.
I love you Michelle and I wish you a safe journey from this temporary life into the eternal life, where there is no tears, no pain, no sickness, no disease, no suffering.
May our Mighty God bring you home safely,

Anonymous said...

Michelle, I found your blog aobut 2 weeks ago, and I want you to know I pray for you daily. I've been a mother baby nurse for 25 years and you story has made me laugh, then sob, but most of all, to be grateful for each moment. This morning I spent a few hours rocking babies in the newborn nursery with the sun coming through the big eastern window. Nothing better than comforting a newborn so mama can get some sleep, talking with my workplace "sisters and mothers." We get so busy, we hardly get a chance to do that, so this day was a special gift. I printed out your story for my mom (who is not part of the internet revolution), and I plan to pass it on to my sisters and friends.I wish you comfort, peace, and a quiet passing from this world to the next. You've left a fingerprint on many souls, and God will be your guide.

Anonymous said...

Michelle, When I read your posts I feel such a life force in you. Your essays take moments and situations in life and carefully carve them with the most exact saber showing us all views we didn't see us aha! moments. Your posts move me, and I am embarrassed to tell you that I am not ready to let you go.

Your writing makes me laugh, your writing makes me cry. I look forward to your posts, and I laud you for living more life in your 39 years than most of us will live in a 'normal' lifespan. You ARE a life force, and your husband and children and Internet friends are blessed from knowing you. Thank you.

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