Life is a labor pain of self-birth. Sometimes God responds to your prayers when you are not able to complete the birthing process, and sometimes God steps back when it is time for you to take responsibility and deliver. The following is the second edited excerpt from an article written by Danny Verbov. The first installment was posted here on January 12, 2015. To view his book go to:
Lesson #6: Cry. Learn to cry.
Let the tears flow. Don’t hold back. No one will think you are less macho because of it. I cried a lot throughout our brush with cancer. Tears are a tremendous gift. They remind us we’re human. They remind us we’re not callous brutes. They also help release tension and deep feelings in a way words cannot express and they help us identify with the pain of others. And, like prayer, no tear is ever wasted…
Takeaway: It’s okay to cry.
Lesson #7: You are Never Alone.
During the chemo it was a tremendous comfort and support to receive calls from friends just calling to say, “I’m thinking of you.” My wife and I were at our son’s side 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This gave him tremendous security and confidence during his stay in hospital.
And even after all the friends have left, or your parents are no longer with you… even when you’re alone awake at two in the morning next to your sick kid’s bed, God is with you at all times. He is our eternal parent, with us every single second, during the good times as well as the bad. You are never alone. We may not be God, but we can certainly call people to tell them we care. Even if they are not experiencing tragedy—even if we don’t need anything from them, every show of sensitive concern showers so much warmth, self-confidence, and happiness on the recipient. And brings much more goodness into the world.
Takeaway: Call a friend today!
Lesson #8: Keep Your Worries in Proportion.
Most things in life are not life and death issues; serious maybe, but not life and death. We saw a lot of life and death in the time we were in the hospital, so we knew we were very ‘lucky.’ Kids born with leukemia going through two years of treatment that might not work, kids with cancer for the second, third or fourth time, endless pain and suffering… and yes, we saw death too. Our priority was getting through this. We didn’t appreciate what ‘aggressive treatment’ meant until we spent almost four consecutive months in the hospital with my wife and I rotating shifts. That was our full-time job.
Thank God, we had financial help, help with the kids, and help with everything else. Our community was absolutely amazing. Over 50 women cooked meals for us during that time – I’ve never eaten so well in my life! Someone did our shopping every week and people even came in to do laundry and wash the dishes. No worries. Indeed, once we realize the Almighty is taking care of our health, finances, and daily maintenance every second of the day, we have no worries. And since then, whether it was during chemotherapy or any other stressful event, I use this technique to focus on doing what I can do and leaving what I can’t to God.
Takeaway: Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t have.
Lesson #9: The Power of Prayer.
Once my son’s situation became known, people all over the world began to pray for him, recite Psalms, take on commitments not to gossip, and many other things we don’t even know about. A friend set up a Facebook group praying for our son that attracted over 4,000 members, most of whom did not even know us!
Like the tears we talked about in Lesson #6, prayer is another thing bigger than us. No prayer is wasted. With that realization, everything you do takes on a new dimension. You suddenly take more care and put more effort into every word of prayer, every word you say, every mundane action. You suddenly become acutely aware of the extreme consequences of your every move. God might not answer in the way you want, but that too is for a reason we do not always understand.
Takeaway: Pray today with all your heart for something you truly desire.
Lesson #10: People Want to Give.
In the hospital, we were witness to overflowing goodness and unlimited giving. Everyone from family and friends came by, and even complete strangers just turned up to be with us or to give our son a word of encouragement. Someone brought us a tub of Ben and Jerry’s at two in the morning… a friend drove four hours just to play Scrabble with me in the hospital, a famous rabbi cried over the phone… and a constant stream of visitors and volunteers throughout the day! One of our greatest tests in life is to know how to receive. Often, people want to give more than you need to receive. Let them. Be prepared to receive any help, whether physical or emotional, direct or indirect; accept simply, with gratitude and a pleasant countenance. Be ready to deal sensitively with people who wanted to help but didn’t know how. Even make up things they can do for you! Not because you need it, but because they do. Know that all this human kindness is just a shimmering reflection of the Almighty’s unbounded, incomprehensible Goodness. He gives. No limits. No conditions.
Takeaway: If you’re in trouble, let people give to you. If someone else is in need, give something, however small, of yourself.
Peace, Love & Healing
Bernie Siegel, MD