The article that first caught my eye was the one by Zen Teacher John Tarrant, titled "5 Reasons to Get Cancer." Ah, hah!! How could I resist?
I like where he begins:
1. The kindness of mortals. If I don't expect them to be rushed or distracted or impatient or narrowly self-interested, in other words, if I am not rushed, etc. myself, almost every interaction emerges slowly and is deeply felt - the way athletes describe a big game, when time slows down and vision widens.
"When the koan appeared, I took it as a response to the biopsy results. (He was diagnosed with prostrate cancer.) The diagnosis seemed all right at the time I got it, but I observed that the small consulting room became large, time slowed down, and everyone's eyes grew big. That room became a ship hanging in space, a ship I still visit if I wish, and sometimes do. That moment was the last moment when I hadn't quite absorbed the news, when I didn't quite have cancer yet. Afterwards the thing that struck me was the feeling of nakedness with people, of falling into their eyes and swimming in the spaces there. In the end, this intimacy seemed to be more significant than the news about cancer - the response to a very interesting call."
Unlike Tarrant, I'm not sure that I have yet absorbed that I had cancer, but I do know that sense of time slowing down, and eyes being huge, and swimming there.
He speaks of being attracted to archways when he was first diagnosed. I felt the same. I knew I was walking through a curved doorway, an arch, the place of full support. He speaks of being awake. Yes! He ends with a fifth koan.
5. Cancer can be funny, like anything else. This is better than the alternative.
Yes, it is! I think my smile is huge, an arch, the door I've walked through.