just been diagnosed with stage four cancer in her bones and lungs. She's 48, and so far asymptomatic aside
from a persistent cough. Melissa asked our friend Geralyn, who is a doctor, "well how many stages are there" and Geralyn said "four."
Last night people came to the meeting house to 'hold her in the light' -- a Quaker term of art, meaning essentially praying for her. I went, though I don't have any strong feeling about the power of prayer. I know there are studies indicating better outcomes for people who are prayed for, but I know also that these studies have been disputed. I can't think of a physical phenomenon that would explain prayer doing anyone good.
But I went anyway, and did what I could, which is like usual meeting experience -- trying meditation techniques, coping with physical discomfort, daydreaming, and finally entering a sort of no-mind state that I'm startled out of when the silence ends. But still the experience was quite moving, especially hearing from the elderly members of the meeting, who have been living with loss for many years.
So I don't know. I don't know if it does any good; it certainly can't do any harm. The whole meeting, Janet most of all, can only hope for one of those miracles that one hears about. The thing that kept going through my mind was 1 Corinthians 13, which I've written on LJ before: "For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face ... And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." In a world we can't fully understand, Paul suggests that only these three things are constants on which we can depend. We can hope for a compassionate universe, we can have faith that such a universe will take care of those we love, and we can care for each other.
So any of you who want to, say a prayer, hold in the light, or whatever, for my friend Janet. It can't hurt, and even if it doesn't help, it's all we can do. I think it's one of the most important thing we grubby, imperfect monkeys in pants are able to do.