Delycia and I welcome people into our home every so often, and I only wish I could be more welcoming to the thoughts that move through the home of my mind. A steady line of thoughts constantly passes through my life, and I want to learn to welcome them all, even those filled with fear or dismay or discouragement. What I am slowly understanding is that my thoughts are not me, but fairly frail and short-lived whispers that will slip smoothly away if I just stand aside, observe them in a welcoming way, and then let them quietly leave. I could welcome thoughts of fear, for instance – politely listen to them, let them take their time passing through, and then see them to the door and down the road. I’m learning that thoughts are as harmless as I allow them to be – simply evanescent voices that will soon disappear if I stand by with something like a smile.
WELCOME, CANCER a poem about Bernice D., 61, Blessings, CT When cancer came to her for a visit, she greeted it with civility, saying, "Cancer, you are welcome as my guest, both because you are here, and because something good will come from your visit, just as the sky is more striking after a storm. My personal illness is not especially important, dear cancer, because what are you, my small, irresolute visitor, compared to the waters of sorrow that swamp so many people today, so many children adrift in fear, so many elderly losing their way in loneliness? You, my cancer, are a mere ripple of discomfort in a vast sea of sorrow, a sea of scared kids and helpless homeless people and millions utterly lost in sadness. Please be my guest. Show me what serious illness and pain and panic are like, so I'll be a better brother for my brother and sister sufferers around the world. My proud cancer, you can never truly hurt me, since my love for my wounded worldwide family is far stronger than my fear of any boisterous, noisy disease, one that has never seen the gutsy power of unselfishness, or the way light is always brighter after darkness."