Last night I dreams of a woman who had dedicated her life to being in relationship with cancer. She spoke to it. She said “Cancer is everywhere,” and in some way she loved it. She was not ill herself, just in relationship. As I finished dreaming for the night my last dream words were “Jesus is everywhere.” I woke thinking it.
What’s up with this? I don’t think my dreamlife is equating cancer with Jesus. But if Jesus is in every particle of experience, every proton of my life, then He is present in the same location as cancer. Every cancer cell co-exists with Him in time and space. As the woman in my dream was living in a loving awareness of cancer she was, through it, transforming it, or, if that’s not quite the right word, revealing Jesus within it.
I’m not sure exactly where I’m going with this. Stepping slightly sideways, this morning I was praying and thinking about my increasing blindness. It’s getting pretty extreme. There are more and more things I can’t do. And I’m discovering that psychically it’s very painful. When I was maybe nine years old I went with my parents to some kind of amusement park in cottage country Ontario. there was an eagle in a cage. I found it, even then, quite horrifying. I’ve had a number of thoughts about it over my life, wondering what it stood for. I think I know now.
And as I reflected this morning what I came to was this: it’s not going to go away. God may choose to heal it, but I’m not pursuing it. I don’t want to separate myself from it. The emotional/psychic pain is extreme sometimes, but each particle of pain is a door. No pain, no entry. I’m not saying that pain is the only way to access God – I know it’s not. All you have to do is hold a baby. But it’s a door, and I think to reject and isolate the pain is maybe to miss the door. It’s not that it’s going to stop hurting. It’s that God can suffuse the pain.
So, with the woman whose life was dedicated to being in relationship with cancer, my dream, I think, was speaking to me, telling me that pain is everywhere, and that where pain is, Jesus is.