I wrote this poem several years ago after listening to a powerful presentation at a health fair in a First Nations community close to where we live. The next day I flew into Toronto and took the new express line downtown to Union Station.
When my friend started giving me books about Buddhism, I became irritated. Building on past experience, I knew that there was something there for me to learn. The stronger my irritation the more valuable the lessons were. Writings by Pema Chodrun were especially helpful.
Several years ago, when I was forced to retire, a friend reached out to me with this poem. I sort of knew then that huge life challenges give us a chance to grow – to learn – to become closer to our souls, more powerful, happier, wiser… It turned out to be true then, and true again when I got prostate cancer (What in the world is the right word for that? I didn’t go out and ‘get’ anything – I developed? I became ill?).
I am turning 75 this year – another opportunity – and I feel incredibly lucky.
So….I hope that men reading this who are facing illness, change, aging will find what is written here helpful. Men have been taught to be strong and silent, which is admirable. BUT older men suicide more often than any other group, and the rate for men with prostate cancer is even higher.
You may feel you are finished. But you are not.