People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies;
If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you;
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten;
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
— St. Teresa of Calcutta/ Mother Teresa
*** found on the wall of the Children’s Home in Calcutta most likely adapted from a poem by Kent M. Keith.
Germany. . .
Upon my return from living, receiving medical treatment, & working in Germany for the past 5 months with my parents, I feel extreme fatigue and exhaustion after the grueling daily demands we faced, but we shared this challenge and burden alongside other critically and terminally ill patients from North America & Europe filled with remarkable and otherworldly hope & joy. My mother’s cancer diagnosis brought us to Southern Germany after God opened a seemingly impossible and unlikely window in a seemingly hopeless situation. Instead of burying our second loved one this year, we celebrated my mother’s 63rd birthday. A birthday my family and I didn’t think was possible. God worked the impossible.
My family and I are not more loved, valued, or cherished by God because of this miraculous outcome in comparison to the thousands who will not share the same fate. My family members and I will all die but not today for whatever God’s plan & purpose. For whatever reason, God asked us to walk this path. This cancer care journey will forever put us at odds with the established medical community and cancer care standards of our global society. To have knowledge that could help so many peoples suffering & struggles while being limited in our ability to help or relieve them in their suffering is a different & terrible cross to bear. Certain aspects of my time in Germany will take a lifetime and beyond to process and understand. Only God can illuminate the mystery of this experience and in the course and time He so choses.
I’m humbled by the friends and patients I met along the way from all over the world. The profound beauty of humanity in that clinic was outstanding between the clinical staff, patients, caregivers, and loved ones. I experienced a profound joy and beauty the sufferings and struggles of these critically ill, disabled, and terminal patients. Though we all knew were dying, whether a couple weeks or years in the future, most of us lived with joy, hope, and reckless abandon. Language and nationality did not divide us because there are ways to communicate that do not require verbal comprehension & skill. Hugs, smiles, & non-verbal communication can be the language of love.
I found God amid death & suffering by disease & cancer. I found the face of God shining back in the eyes and faces of the patients the medical community and world had written off as lost and hopeless causes. I watched them face death with bravery and suffering with purpose. Not all these individuals have faith convictions or certain values, but because they were treated like humans- unique individuals not statistics or case studies- they thrived amid desperate & terminal situations.
One of the medical students that worked at the clinic and I conversed one day during my Lyme Disease treatment. She stated how she felt she should only be grateful for her life after all she had witnessed especially with the young gravely ill patients she served at the clinic. I agreed. Their witness is a humbling testimony to what is of value in our earthly life & how every moment is a moment of gratitude regardless of the circumstances or outcomes. The sick and dying can sometimes be great teachers. I firmly believe their lives have immense worth & dignity.
I learned there is an international network of clinicians, researches, developers, inventors, entrepreneurs, lawyers, manufactures, etc. that are working under the radar to change the world of health care especially the world of cancer care. Many of them will never have the funds, backing, endorsements, accolades, awards, or notoriety, yet they forge ahead faithfully amid difficult and complicated circumstances. Saving the world begins with one life.
St. Peregrine, pray for us!
St Jude. pray for us!
St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!