Section 2, part 2
(1) Your best tips for beating procrastination
(5) Carole Biro: How our lives will change dramatically in 20 years
Section 11, Thought for the day
by Guy Sayles
Cancer has changed—is changing—me in, I imagine, the ways that a variety of life-limiting, life-diminishing, and life-threatening experiences change other people.
When, 3½ years ago, my oncologist confirmed that I have Multiple Myeloma (MM), I began a relationship with “Frank’” which is the name I gave this cancer. Since MM is presently incurable, I will be in this relationship for the rest of my life. I will either die at Frank’s hands or in his company.
Everyone who has MM has a somewhat different experience; there are multiple Multiple Myelomas. Since, for me, bone pain (sometimes intense) and fatigue (often extreme) are its main symptomatic manifestations, part of my calling now is to live—not merely to survive or exist—with chronic pain and unpredictable energy.
Cancer has made urgent some changes that were already stirring in my heart and spirit, and it has brought others that I couldn’t have anticipated: in my career, role, “place,” and self-understanding. Myriad troubles, traumas, diseases, and disasters have a destabilizing and disorienting impact on those whom they strike.
Lately, I’ve worried that I am letting “Frank” take up more space in my consciousness than he deserves. Because cancer and its treatment have gathered-up and come to represent many of the significant traumas of my life, it’s distressingly easy to allow them to exercise a controlling, misshaping, and distorting influence over me. I’m tempted to make an idol out of illness.
Maybe people with other hurts and losses faces a similar temptation. I can’t speak for them; but making a false god out of suffering and mortality is certainly a risk I run. Failure to avoid it would make fear stronger than love, brokenness more real than salvation, and death more powerful than abundant life.
When cancer dominates my field of vision, I rivet my attention to limitation rather than focus on possibility.
When Frank pesters me with the lingering effects of “chemobrain”—especially a mushy memory and an attenuated attention span—I lose track of the capacities I still have for imagination, reflection, and discernment.
When I give cancer too much authority, I cling to regret over what I no longer possess rather than practice faithful and creative stewardship of what remains.
Cancer is part of my self-description, but it doesn’t have to be part of my self-definition.”
Cancer patient” is one of many roles I play; it’s not an identity I inhabit.
As others put it, I have cancer, but cancer does not have me.
Signs of idolatry—of putting something proximate in the place of the ultimate and of allowing fear to displace Love—are ingratitude and narcissism.
I don’t want to let trauma wrap me up in myself, to enclose me in my own “stuff,” and to desensitize me to the struggles and hopes of other people.
And, I don’t want to overlook wonder and beauty, to live with a sense of scarcity and anxiety, and to lose the joy of giving thanks for the gifts of life and the gift of life itself.
We become like the gods—the powerful personal realities—we serve. To live in, for, by, and with Love is to become love.
For me, Love has a name. To say the obvious: it’s not “Frank.” To say what I trust: Love’s name is “Jesus.”
Note: Thanks, Guy Sayles, for your gracious permission to reprint this beautiful blog entry.
Section 12A, NC events
Saturday, September 9 at 6 PM – 9 PM
2695 Sugarloaf Rd, Hendersonville, North Carolina
Night of the Child is a fundraising party to highlight the exceptional children’s services and programs offered by Safelight. Sponsored by Pardee Hospital, this fun event will feature delicious food from Dandelion, award-winning wine from Burntshirt Vineyards, and a silent auction full of beautiful artwork from local artisans and Safelight family children. Tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased by calling 828-693-3840 or at:
(2) The Magnetic Theatre proudly presents the world premiere of Six Knots, a gripping contemporary comic-drama about greed and avarice. Travis Lowe, an accomplished actor best known for his work with The Montford Park Players and Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective makes his full-length debut as a playwright with Six Knots.
Set on a richly appointed sailboat drifting lazily in the Atlantic, Six Knots concerns Randall Lowell (Jeff Messer), the alpha male CEO of a company that builds and manages for-profit prisons, his wife Amber (Christine Eide), and their guests, two other couples (Mike Coghlan and Jamie Knox, and Julia Cunningham and Lisa M. Smith). Though this is supposed to be an easy-going vacation, everyone has an agenda. As the shoreline fades and the rum flows freely, tensions boil over into a frenzied quest for money, power, and survival.
Directed by Andrew Gall, Six Knots plays August 3-19 at 7:30 PM.
Section 12B, PA/NJ events
(1) If you’re in the PA and/or NJ area, please do join me at …
My Annual Trek Up North
Sunday, August 27 from 1:59 PM – 5:01 PM
Sycamore Grill, 255 N Sycamore St, Newtown, PA
Stop by to say “hello,” greet old friends and meet new ones. There will be plenty of great food and drink that will be available on a cash basis.
In addition, you’ll get to see Bill Lewis perform his all new, sit-down routine, and John Strauss (along with possibly others) will be providing music for your listening enjoyment.
And make sure you’re there at approximately 3:43 p.m., at which time John will lead all who are there in a rendition of what’s arguably the greatest rock song of all time: “Happy Together.”
***** PLEASE RSVP *****
So I can have a ballpark of how many to expect, indicate if you’ll be able to join me by responding to the Facebook invite if you see it there. Or if you see it in my BLAINESWORLD blog or elsewhere, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and put AUGUST 27 in the subject line.
PS. If the above date doesn’t work for you and/or you’d also like to get together some other time, I will be in the area from August 21-28. I’m looking to possibly see WAIT UNTIL DARK at the Langhorne Players on Aug. 25 or 26, a comedy show, get to eat at some diners and other places I miss in Bucks County, etc. Please let me know.
(2) Since 2009, K2KEntertainment and The Kelsey Theatre [at Mercer County Community College] have jointly administered The Kelsey Awards. The Kelsey Awards recognizes achievement in the live theater that takes place inside the building.
The winners of each category are kept hidden from the public and are revealed during a live ceremony inside the theater. This year’s ceremony takes place on August 19th at 7pm. This live ceremony announces the winners, features special performances from nominated performers and productions, special comedic sketches, along with surprise cameos and collaborations.
For tickets, please click: