Faith and Acceptance

Dear Nephew,

Just hearing the diagnosis has been enough to send all of us who love you bouncing between the bottomless pit of swirling fear and despair and a stunned disbelief. When we settle into reality it doesn’t always feel better. In fact, each medical phone call and office visit can be an assault of predictions…every one hemmed in by limits of time, resources, expected results…

Moving beyond the diagnosis takes both faith and acceptance. The balancing act on this tightrope is sometimes hard to maintain when our thoughts play chase with our feelings.

Still, I have faith. I can live with the satisfaction that in each moment, the best is being done for you. I know that belief and attitude play a huge role in healing. And I believe in our bodies are able to correct themselves given the right nutrients, environment and alternative methods. And I also give credence to modern medicine. Chemotherapy and radiation combined with all other methods have allowed many of our friends and family members to live beyond cancer.

Faith in all that we have at our disposal is a given. But what about acceptance?

I am not trying to move toward acceptance of death or loss…life brings death and loss to us all and we are foolish to struggle against the inevitable. But the concept is too huge to accept when I look at you.

So I am working toward acceptance of what each day brings.

I know that resistance takes every issue from a pebble to a mountain. My mind can whirl into the pit or run gasping for the light, spinning stories on its way. Stories of doom or glory – each as false as the other.

So I move toward minute-by-minute acceptance. I can accept that each decision is for your well-being right now. It isn’t a final indictment. Choosing one treatment does not preclude another and may not be the ultimate solution. A low day doesn’t mean that a good day won’t follow.

Acceptance soothes me. When I  breathe in and out and hear about your day, acceptance keeps me in a comforting calm and lets me recognize that you are tired, or that you are happy, or that you are sad, and that I can be with you where you are without transporting both of us to some future place in time.

Acceptance lets me hear your opportunities for treatment and know that the best options will work their way to the fore. It helps me lay aside my (always) strong opinions and leave it to you to decide which paths to take. And when I can’t be there and I don’t have moment-by-moment updates, acceptance helps me know that you are using your energy for healing and that my knowing all the details is not necessary for your well-being.

When I am here and you are there, I remind myself that you are living your life, dear Nephew. And that your diagnosis is not your life. It is a determination of what is happening to you for now, but is not who you are.

I can accept that difference and have faith with you.




  1. “Let us for once be pessimistic of our intellect and instead be optimistic of our faith.”

    The author of that quote is a young friend of my son’s age who is a paraplegic due to an automobile accident. Despite that condition he lives a full life and for me particularly is a delightful companion whenever either I go over to his place of business or home or when he comes to visit us. This is the statement that he repeats often to people who get maudlin in his presence.


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