A Return To God
A Return to God
I am an only child. By nature, I am very objective, independent, and non-emotional. Although raised by a remarkable Christian mother, I started rejecting Christianity when I was a teenager. By the time I left home for college, I had totally wandered away from any form of relationship with God.
I spent over 20 years focusing on personal achievement and secular success. I majored in finance at Georgetown, studied comparative business at Oxford, received my law degree from Berkeley, worked in stereotypical glass-towered law firms, started my own technology law practice, and served in management for a high-growth telecommunications company. To me, life was about self and success. I didnít have time for spiritual or emotional things. I operated on a stable and selfish plane -- and I liked it that way.
When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, I automatically dropped into my natural state. I provided energy, positivism, and intellectual counsel. I focused on the inevitable victory of recovery, rather than the daily drudgery of treatment. As my mother probably expected, I removed myself from the emotional, and concentrated on my role as the strong-willed only child with the unyielding positive attitude.
On October 5, 1999, everything began to change. My mother had just endured another round of chemotherapy, and she was scheduled to get her test results. She called and asked if I would attend the visit with her oncologist. (My mother had learned to always bring two sets of ears when test results and future treatment options were discussed.) Since her husband, Bob, was unable to attend, I agreed to take a morning off work to help my mom ďcollect information.Ē
As I sat and listened, the bottom of my stomach dropped to the floor. In an instant, my detached positivism started to shake at the seams. I listened as we were told about elevated cancer markers and a diminishing list of treatment alternatives. I was trying to get my emotional bearings, as the oncologist and my mother were talking about the tradeoff between ongoing treatment and quality of life.
The reality of the disease, the reality of the prognosis, the reality of fewer and fewer treatment options, the reality that this was my precious mother enduring this real pain, the reality of life, and the reality of death. All of a sudden, I felt very awkward and alone. I was shocked by the truth of my motherís disease and emotional about her uncertain future. It was then and there that I realized I needed to do more than mask feelings with supposed intellect and positivism.
After the doctor left, my mother looked into my eyes and saw right down to my heart. She reached out and grabbed my hand. She prayed -- I cried. (Actually, other than casual prayers before holiday meals, this was the first time I had prayed in over 20 years. It was also the first time I had cried in nearly as long.)
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