Five years and one month ago, I was ill and expected to die soon. Yet, obviously even today I am still very much alive and am expressing my gratitude for such through my postings to you on my gratitudesquared.com
Recently, and unfortunately, now I am facing uncertain illness again and am finding it hard to express gratitude in the face of my fear.
But, yesterday something happened to strengthen my resolve towards gratefulness, just in time to offset the strength of my growing fear as a multi-hour biopsy procedure approaches tomorrow.
In brief, I was engaging in a chat with a dear friend about health and wellness and she remarked that my parents and grandfather were with me in spirit at that time. This felt like a nice statement and I did not think much more about it at that time. About five minutes after, as I was driving alone in LA traffic, the phrase “peace that surpasses all understanding” came to mind. I rushed home to google the origin of this phrase because I had not heard that phrase for years, if at all. I could not remember, and certainly I do not speak like that. I should note, however, my father was a Baptist Minister, a relevant fact to this story I believe!
Thanks to my computer and Google, when I put that exact phrase in, I learned such interesting facts that I had to share with all of you. I learned that Paul the Apostle had written a letter to the Philippians (which is now known as the country of Greece) in which he instructed people to remain steadfast in their faith. Paul’s letter is the eleventh book of the New Testament, and Paul wrote it while in prison for preaching. Of course, I wondered what does this have to do with me and/or my health?
Those of you who know me know that I am very analytical, a researcher, and make decisions and take actions based on data, so I kept probing this phrase… My years of Ph.D. training were kicking in full blast. In brief, I just had to research this phrase, and learn the significance of such. This is what I am discovering even as I type this blog to you:
- Paul wrote to the people In Philipi to express his GRATITUDE! Go to learnreligions.com for more information. It seems serendipitous that this verse is related to Gratitude! Out of all the verses in the Bible, this one emerged…
- The Book of Philippians “conveys a powerful message about the secret of contentment… in every circumstance he had learned to be content“.
- The main and consistent theme of this eleventh book is JOY! Joy and gratitude go hand in hand along one’s journey to a State of Gratitude. How wonderful…
- The main message of Philippians 4 is encouragement. I felt I certainly needed that message to face the biopsy again after five years of no new tumors.
- Important principles in Philippians 4 are peace and joy in all circumstances. Indeed, I was looking for peace of mind for the upcoming procedure. And, I must admit it is hard to find joy in the face of fear. This verse became my reminder.
- My verse: Philippians 4:7 is “peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds…” (KJV). See the relevance of this below.
Does anyone see the connections between this verse and my daily practices of Gratitude, joy, happiness, contentment? I do. I felt like I had received a message.
I wanted to learn more so I went to Pulpit Commentary on biblehub.com. Note: I am keeping this posting short so I will not explain verse 6 above my particular verse 7, but 6 is also relevant to my circumstance (“in nothing be anxious“).
Verse 4:7, as explained on biblehub, flows from God’s gracious presence. The “peace” passes ALL understanding. The peace “transcends the reach of human thought… it can be known only by the inner experience of the believer.” Further, “thoughts issue from the heart… in Hebrew Scriptures, the heart is regarded as the seat of the intellect, not of feeling only.” What a densely worded and impactful verse! I read it over and over again to gain a better understanding of that particular message.
So, how did this experience/verse appearing in my mind… impact me or manifest through my actions as I prepare myself mentally for the biopsy?
- I am now at peace for tomorrow. Surprisingly…
- Because I understand that the peace I now feel surpasses my understanding, and transcends beyond what my own human mind may comprehend, I am at peace. In fact, I now understand that this peace is so deep that I am unable to fully comprehend it – I must accept this peace through faith alone.
- I am yielding my mind to my heart. My heart is in control now and tomorrow.
- My intellect is given by faith to my heart. This is an interesting experience for me as I continually need to see the data and the evidence to trust, believe, and act.
- The transcendent feeling I am experiencing today for tomorrow can be known only to me. This is such a true statement. As something like the following was said in the Nixon years, only when you have been in the deepest valley can you appreciate the experience on the mountaintops. I personally find that serious illness drives one to their faith to a greater extent than before, and when additional health issues re-emerge, only those experiencing the decision-making processes can know the depth of fear and sorrow or joy. Looking death in the face and making decisions to speed or prolong life is sobering at best and sacred overall.
- For more than five years now I have explained my ongoing health to others as a consequence of not only doctors’ surgeries, traditional and alternative treatments, and a variety of life practices, but also due to God’s Grace and spiritual beliefs.
- I typically say: “I can not explain why I am still alive.” “But, I do know that there is a spiritual component to my continued health”.
Yesterday, what happened to me while driving in the busiest of LA traffic was spiritual… again… It is a unique experience to experience…. it gave me joy, peace, hope, and understanding. It took my fear and anxiety away.
I am so grateful that I have peace that surpasses all understanding.
I hope I have adequately explained the meaning of the phrase that emerged in my mind yesterday………. through this posting. The meaning became clear, at least, to me. I know in reality that some of you will understand this posting fully as you have reached out to me with your own stories of life and death… Perhaps, in time, others will also come to understand… I pray most of you may never need to do so.
As I summarize this posting today, at least one person appeared to understand the significance of this phrase as well it seemed…
That is, one of my Jewish friends, read my post and listened to me calmly but joyfully relay my experience yesterday, after which she very simply and quietly said, “I might have to start reading the books of the New Testament”. I found this to be a significant statement, coming from a nonbeliever…
Blessings to you. My deepest and sincere gratitude I send to those of you who are holding me up with positivity and prayer! I thank you.