Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Yesterday my daughter, Becca, was driving me to yet another medical appointment. This one was for a brain MRI to determine the extent of the nerve damage from my radiation treatments almost eight years ago. Becca told me how she thinks that everything happens for a reason and that if I had never gotten throat cancer she would not have developed into the mature person she is today. I do agree that Becca has matured incredibly since I was first diagnosed. It came at a really unfortunate time, as if there is a fortunate time to get cancer. Becca was just starting high school and her parents were largely occupied with other things. I told Becca that I do not believe that. The universe is random and there was no higher purpose in my getting cancer. I don't believe in a deity who manipulated my health so that Becca would mature beyond her years. Becca responded that she chooses to believe that things happen for a reason, and then, just when I needed to hear it (I was preoccupied with feeling sorry for myself; however, in my own defense, it is one of my best things) Becca told me that she thinks that the point of life is to live each moment and that we can all choose to be happy. A smile spread over my face and I told Becca, "You're a Buddhist." Becca, who has rejected all organized religion, protested. But I explained that her statement, which I really needed to hear, was consistent with Buddhist thought, teaching, and practice. I have been practicing and evolving into Buddhism for almost twenty years, and I had to have my deaughter remind me to be here and present and to choose to be happy. And once again the student teaches the master. I was, as I so often am, so proud of Becca at that moment. I have to confess though, that I was also proud of myself. I know that she got that type of thinking from someone and as the only Buddhist in the house I am quite willing to take credit. But mostly, I was deeply touched that this young woman who I have loved and cared for over the past twenty two years is capable of having a rational, intelligent conversation with me. I enjoy being wiht my daughter more now than ever.