There is no doubt that this is exceedingly difficult on me physically right now, but as long as my peace is in tact, anything can be faced with complete joy. Even this.
The only component required for peace on earth, I've learned, is to do your very best to be right with God. I know many of you who read this blog are not particularly religious, but please indulge me on this occasion, as my faith is such an integral part of this journey for me and I cannot leave this part out any more than any of the medical particulars.
As a convert, it has taken a long time for me to become a fan of confession. I believe God is a loving and merciful God who did not create any of us to do anything other than love us. If we come to him contritely when we have gone astray, he is our father and will always run to us in love, ready to forgive us. I did not always believe this needed to happen inside of a confessional and indeed I believe it happens many times outside of one as well.
But I am now thoroughly convinced that Confession (Reconcilliation) is an actual, real Sacrament, filled with tangible graces that offers a real life encounter with Christ himself. There is no substitute for this, especially when you are at a place in your life where you are uncertain as how much time you may have to make up for things you have not done as well as you would have liked.
Last week I had the most cleansing confession I've ever had. It left me with a completely clean heart and total peace ever since. I wish I had done it years ago. For years now, I have gone fairly regularly to confession and got out all the usual goop that tends to bog us down. But this time, I went back to my first general confession and went over things again from my youth that I know and understand were completely and technically forgiven the first time I confessed them. But in recent months I would remember a few things that I didn't say at the time or wish that I had said them better. So, I decided what better time than the present to clean the slate.
I just said it all. Everything I have ever regretted doing in my life, all out there, all embarrassing, all so unimportant now that I gave it all up. I was not talking to the priest (though I was), I was talking to God himself and I left knowing that I am absolutely forgiven and I have done everything I can do to make things right. Wow, what a great feeling.
After the priest reminded me kindly to now really, truly let these things go, I have. I am ready for whatever comes and with such peace in my heart.
Don't worry, folks, I am not preparing for my imminent demise or anything, I am just getting my soul in order so I can focus on what is the really important part of living--moving forward without regret or fear.
I know this is a very personal thing to share with you all and I hope I have not been too frank. I just thought some of you might be happy to know that real peace exists, no matter what is going on in your life. God will provide it upon request, and you don't need to wait for a terminal illness to go get it!
And for those of you who think I'm totally nuts...I promise I'll get back to medical stuff and fun kid stories tomorrow. :-)