This may bother my wife, but I am sure that she will forgive me at some point.
Not many people were aware of Lynda’s diagnosis back in 2010. Lynda had been diagnosed with what the oncologist called a metastasis of her breast cancer to her shoulder. That meant that the cancer that had originally been in her breast, was now in her shoulder, in her bone. It had been there for over a year, but Lynda had refused a biopsy, but eventually the radiologists agreed that what we were looking at was stage IV breast cancer.
We freaked. I researched all the doctors and treatments in the US and overseas that had a possibility of a cure. and if you follow western medicine, that is not possible. According to western medicine, a stage IV diagnosis is terminal they can only buy you time at best. For those of you that don’t know, I lost my first wife, Connie, to pancreatic cancer that too, was stage IV. I was horrified, not for me, but for Lynda. Her light is just too damn bright to be extinguished this early in life, and I was determined to find an answer. At any cost.
This is when we determined that a doctor in Arizona was our best chance for a cure. He had been diagnosed with stage IV cancer, which was VERY aggressive, and had managed to get himself treated naturopathically, and had succeeded in surviving. He then went to school to become an NMD, and is now treating cancer patients in Arizona.
We left for Arizona, with our life savings in hand. Almost ninety thousand dollars. Insurance doesn’t cover this kind of treatment, so it is all out of pocket. And to this day, I will tell you the same thing I said then, “I will spend every penny I have to keep her with me”. Money, stuff, means nothing without my girl by my side, that lesson I have learned and learned well.
Lynda proceeded with treatments, and let me tell you, just because they say “naturopathically or holistically” does NOT mean less painfully. Lynda endured some treatments that were very painful. I am not sure I could have done them and I have a high pain tolerance. But she endured.
I worked in San Diego, and my boss let me work 4 day work weeks which meant I could travel back and forth to Arizona until the treatments were over. I was a basket case, as long as I was not around Lynda. Around her? I sucked it up and provided the best support I could muster. She could NOT see me in any other way except fully supportive and positive. Nothing else was acceptable.
I was getting ready to leave Arizona on my way back to San Diego. I was terrified. I was hoping for the best, and expecting the worst. I had so many flash backs of being with Connie in the hospital watching her fade a little more every day until she was gone. It was beyond words. My gut was churning, I couldn’t stay focused on a single damn thing except that I was now going to lose Lynda.. and Goddamn it, hadn’t he taken enough already? I was livid at my version of god and the universe..
He had already done this once, wasn’t that enough? I even tried making a deal, take me, load me up and clear her, and I would be good with that. Tried that with Connie, and god didn’t take the deal. She died and I was left behind. Then Lynda came into my life again, and suddenly life was worth living again, and we lived full-tilt-boogie. Now? Now it was getting down to the nitty gritty. and it looked like he wasn’t going to take me up on the offer again. sonofa…. you could see where my mind was going.. all over the place.
I was at a gas station, counting the money I was spending, trying to figure out how we could squeeze out a few more bucks out to pay for a couple more treatments, and buy more time or even a cure. I turned to my left and one of the largest black men I had ever seen in my life was standing in front of me. This guys arms were as big as my legs, and when I say big, I mean muscular no fat, just muscle. His hair was longish, with dreadlocks included. He was incredibly stocky, large enough to tackle a horse and win. My first thought was “shit, I am about to get mugged”. But in the pico second that I thought that, I actually looked at the man. I mean really looked at him. He was clean, long hair, well dressed, but what got me, was his aura.
I believe that angels walk among us, even though I am not a Christian, I do believe in a higher power, and the emissary’s of that higher power, in whatever form they choose to manifest themselves. That may make me crazy or at least a couple cans short a six pack, but I do believe that the world is stranger than we can possibly imagine. and this guy seemed to be living proof of that insanity. He positively glowed in a light I will never be able to explain.
The man began to talk, and to my surprise, he spoke eloquently, and he had a gleam in his eye that was from what I would say is his spirit, his karma. I tried to shake this image loose from my brain but to no avail, his light was that pervasive. He explained that he was down on his luck, but not in those words. Instead, he spoke of a life that had simply had some unforeseen turns that put him in a place of need. He had been successful, but due to the economy’s twists and turns, he was on the path he was on. And could I, would I, be willing to lend him a hand?
At that moment, the world stood completely still. I mean still. No traffic noise, no airplane noise, no voices in the background. It was as if the universe was holding its breath, and how I was going to treat this man would have an impact that I would never begin to fathom. Normally? I would brush this kind of guy off, with the normal, “Nah, no extra change or bucks” and push on past him. I have done it more times that I can count. Once in awhile I will toss in a buck, but never much, and seldom give it thought. After all, most of these bums are using the money for booze or drugs, right?
This guy? I think that if I sat there long enough, I would have seen a visible light, or a halo around his head, indeed, I may have. It was not the normal “gimme” crap, this was the universe determining, no, demanding, that based on how I treated this one man, the universe would treat me. Karma was knocking and I was about to answer the door. There was an eternity in that split second of making my choice. One that for the rest of my life, I will never forget.
I looked at him and said, “Please, wait here”. I didn’t have a lot of money, and I needed every penny to try to save my wife’s life. But somehow, this guy was a test, a litmus test to determine what kind of person I really was and how I was willing to treat my fellow man. My account had a hundred in it. I pulled sixty and went back, and handed it to him.
Beyond words. The aura that this black man put out expanded, it actually made me squint as I talked to him, and it felt as if the gears of the world suddenly spun into place, and put my life into exactly where it needed to be. It felt as though suddenly, everything that was going wrong, was now going right. My fears? my nightmares? Suddenly vanished. And as this man walked away, he looked back and smiled. It was as if the angel “Michael” himself was suddenly smiling at me and telling me that everything, and I do mean everything, is going to be all right.
Now, am I crazy? probably. More than likely. The guy was probably just a shyster, just a druggie with a habit, a drunk with a problem. But you know what?
Almost five years later, and my wife is the picture of health. And we truly are living the dreams of a lifetime. And that angel that I met?
I think he is still smiling at us, I know I certainly am smiling at him. and I am moved by a verse from a book I have read in passing many, many years ago, but I take what I find appropriate for the moment, regardless of where it comes from, and remember this verse, if nothing else, the next time you meet someone truly in need:
The Holy Bible:
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’