More Letters to Lee

Dear Friends,

You know by the reading of previous posts the genesis of these Letters To Lee. Here is another one I have chosen to share from 1994.

Dear Lee,

Last night I cried again for what you have to go through. I tell you this not to cause you concern as you orchestrate the battle to fight the cancer, I tell you because I want you to know you are not alone in this cancer experience. The internal battle, of course, is yours and the weapons are a positive attitude, chemicals and radiation.

The support for your fight, however, comes strongly from Mom and me and from so many others. Some of them you know, they are long time friends and they love you. Some of the others, who send you healing love, you have never met, but they too are workers in the field of light and know the power of love by giving it.

With so many interested in your well being, I thought it might be interesting today to write to you about our extended family and what it may mean as we experience a community of concern for you. Ehrling Thungren, a teacher of George Christie, once said that “the material for group transformation is shared experience.” Evidence of that truth can be found everywhere.

One of my favorite trees is the Redwood. The Sequoia. Magnificent standing monuments to the efficacy of family, of community. These trees are often a thousand years old and grow to 300-feet tall and 30-feet wide. Yet, the root system of a single tree rarely extends below eight feet. Hardly enough holding power to keep these cellulose obelisks standing upright. What keeps them from falling? Community! Their roots intertwine with other Redwoods in a community called a grove. The roots of the grove, interconnect to other groves and an exponential strength evolves as each tree helps the others stand erect against fire and storm.

The human species is similar to the Redwoods. Extended families gather in people groves, and like the Redwoods, intertwine life with life, hopes with hopes, wishes with wishes. Our roots are also shallow, for we are on the earth, but not of it. Shared experience and service to others, provide a strength called community.

Community, as it is understood as family, is the manifestation of Love for a collective purpose. It is knowing that the success of one is ultimately inter-related and inter-dependent upon the success of the other and in a true desire for the the other’s achievement comes a profound willingness let go of the illusion that growth is singular.

Community begins when we remember we are all part of each other and all part of All That Is. There is a community of support out there for you in your healing quest. The favors you carry into battle are their cards and letters and calls.

Forever to be free
the choice is to be,
for the I that you see
is not what is me.

The me that is free,
is a part of thee.
for when I choose to be,
the I sees as we.

Enough for now. Know that I love you very much and send you healing light. Use it as you will.


Letters to Lee

Charles Dickens once wrote: “When death strikes down the innocent and young, for every fragile form from which he lets the panting spirit free, a hundred virtues rise, in shapes of mercy, charity and love to walk the world and bless it.”

As I mentioned in previous posts, when my son Lee was diagnosed with Brain cancer I started to write him a series of bi-weekly letters. My desire was to accelerate the teachings that a father might impart to a son were they to have a normal 20 to 30-year adult relationship. Lee loved the letters and we would often discuss them. One of his favorites was letter number four.

Dear Lee,

Today I write to you about Divinity. I have mentioned in my previous letters that you, we, are all divine. Not too many of us think about that because we are caught up in the illusion of the day to day, but when we are faced with great crisis and must choose great courage, the Divinity within is the only reality.

The guilt in us says we can’t be Divine. We’re not good enough, pure enough, religious enough. I often wonder why we choose to energize a thought that permeates the illusion of what we think we are not. We are not the ego’s illusion. We are not separate from the Creator, except by believing we are. The All That Is has never broken the covenant of connection and we are eternally welcome to come home. The choice is ours. The Reality is, at every moment, we are safe. The perception of being sinful prevents us from knowing not only that we can go home, but that we are already there.

A synonym for Unconditional Love is forgiveness. We are forgiven and forgiving the instant we think we need to be. To know that, listen to your heart essence and feel your smile for the heart will never mislead you. The ego will deceive, the mind will delude and debate, but the Heart is tuned to the Divine and cannot be false.

You have accepted life to express Beingness through experience, not to impress others through the false effulgence of diamonds or status. I have always honored that in you, although sometimes I had difficulty understanding it. By your lack of attachment, you have reminded your Mother and me that over valuing the crowns of career, in whatever form it manifests, fosters the fantasy that things material, the impermanent objects of coveting dreams, is a false goal rather than just a tool on this life path of enlightening experience.

Owning stuff is the great paradox. Things and objects, whatever value we give them, tend to be the possessors, rather than the possession. Addiction is present when we can’t let go of what we think is us. Material objects and accumulated currency are not meant to define the Self. We are only what we think, not what we have. Attachment owns the owner. God Bless you for your exemplary understanding of this.

While I am on the subject of your attributes, let me list some of them, lest they go unsaid. I love your inclusive sense of humor, your comforting ability to draw others around you to laugh and your encouragement, by example, to be positive, when another choice could be easier. I love the way you sing a song and phrase the lyrics that give a meaning greater than the writer intended. I love your appreciation of nature and your attunement to her. I love the way you ski, with grace, flowing form and perfect balance. You are one with the mountain and its majesty moves through you.

I love your free spirit and the dignity you find in honest work. I love your strength to let go of status, despite occasional parental disapproval. Sometimes parents forget that we must love our children for themselves, not love ourselves, through our children.

I love your desire and courage to fight your cancer and your wish to move quickly through anger and denial into acceptance, for we can only battle what we know, not what we fear. Most of all, I love your spirit, that essence of you that has been living for eternity. If I could I would remember all the incarnations we have shared together for I feel the ancient and renewing accumulation of the love we have for one another and that is what makes me proud to be your Father. If, in the next life, I am the child and you are the parent, please remember the tricycle, the bike, the car and the unconditional love I have for you.

Enough for now. Know that I love you very much and send you healing light, use as you will.”


Amulets and Things

Good Evening Readers,

In many ways I wish I could address each of you by name since these are more personal posts, but since that is not, at the moment, possible, I will affectionately call you “readers”. I guess by definition you could call me “writer”. How about we call or at least refer to each other as friend.

Thus: Dear Friends,

Those of you who have chosen to embrace these posts on a regular basis, I thank you. This week, with your indulgence, most of the posts will deal with my son Lee who died nine years ago this week of brain cancer. He was 31 at the time and struggled with the disease for nearly five years before he succumbed on September 28th, 1999.

A few years after his death, his wife Kelly sent my wife Ann and me a box filled with mementos that were important to Lee when he was alive. He kept them on a meditation altar in his home. These were collections of his traveler’s artifacts and talismans of hopeful belief as well as trinkets of happy moments. I believe that all souls who see their eminent ending through a terminal disease tend to collect the minutia of meaningful reminders so that their passing is permissible to their life’s sustaining mind.

After the transition from life to life, those of us left behind grab onto whatever is left of the departing loved one and keep it safe for our own catalyst of understanding and use it as a balm to ease the natural ache of loss.

Since poetry is one of my ways of coping with the immensity of losing a child, I wrote the following after receiving the box of Lee’s artifacts. It is the first time this poem is published.

Lee’s Things
© Rolland G. Smith 2003

Your precious items held long past
Their useful time and memory cast
Became the icons of our life
To mark the sacred of your strife.

What do we do with what you held dear
That now are ours? A souvenir?
Of what? Not in your body’s place
Nor of the warmth of life’s embrace.

There’s shells and sand from everywhere
And angel cards and stones as prayer.
There’s shirts and scarfs and statuettes,
A gathering of amulets.

But though we cannot see you here
There’s knowing you are always near.
We honor you, your life and things
Despite the sadness passage brings.

Tomorrow more Letters to Lee.

Lee Rolland Smith

Some thoughts tonight on an extraordinary person.

I’m going to get personal and if you have a problem relating to death and dying you might not want to embrace this or other posts this week. I am going to talk about a personal sadness not because I choose to share personal grief, but because my son who died nine years ago this week was a great teacher and some of the things he taught by being the evidence of them, may be of value to you as it is to me.

His name is Lee. He was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Lee lived for the moment. To complain, he felt, wasted precious time and energy that he could use for healing. He chose to enjoy and embrace every minute and to gracefully enthuse everyone with whom he came in contact. His humor was infectious and he always chose to be positive even when another choice would be easier.

Lee knew he was on a short life line. Cancer tends to focus one’s thinking on the finiteness of life, yet he never complained, despite three brain operations, chemotherapy and radiation and the debilitation that goes with those encounters.

When he was first diagnosed, I decided, as his Father, that I would try to accelerate conversations we might have over the course of a normal life time between Father and Son. Every few weeks, I sent him a letter in which he might respond by questions or dialogue or any discourse he would choose. Over the course of four years of letters we had many discussions. I once asked him if I might publicly share some letters with others if it seemed appropriate. He said yes and it does now.

Here is letter number one:

Dear Lee,

Since your cancer was diagnosed nothing has the importance it used to have. You are constantly in your Mother’s and my thoughts. Wonderful memories compete for mind space and attention. If the spirit centers the thought, then the memory looses the competition and we are comforted by a higher awareness. If the body needs to cry, then the memory wins and we work through it, learning from the emotion, until the choice comes again. It’s something parents go through when their adult child is hurting and they can’t make it go away. I imagine you are going through similar emotions in your private time, as you and Fran deal with this experience and the choices it forces you to make. I do know it’s all right to do and to be both, to be spiritual at times, to be emotional at times. I also know to expect miracles, but remember that holding on to preconceived expectations can bring disappointments. Letting go, with love, will bring peace. Both are important in healing.

We are both physical and spiritual beings. When we perceive, through our physical bodies, via the intellect and instinct, each moment of being is mortally precious because we tie it to time. Our spirit, however, the true essence of what we are, sees each moment as eternity and perfect, for linear time does not exist. If you accept that premise, the expression, “Live in the Moment” takes on a different meaning. You can live in the moment Lee, all it takes is the desire to do so and when you make that choice the result is love, for fear cannot exist in the moment.

The spirit is powerful. It controls the mind, if we let it and we empower the mind by thought and visualization. The mind controls the body. Work first with your essence, your spirit and direct it, to direct the mind, to eliminate the dis-ease within your body. The meditation exercise I taught you using light will be very helpful if you practice it regularly. Remember that life is the illusion and the spirit is reality and we are co-creators of both.

Understanding the dichotomy of letting go, to always have, is the constant struggle of being, of life. Implicit in this Truth is the understanding that we are not our bodies. Our bodies only house what we really are — spirit! The body is a beautiful mechanism brought into form that allows the spirit to exist in this environment. When the spirit is finished with what it came here to do, it discards the body and returns to the Source and the body returns to the earth. This is why the body and the earth are considered sacred. They are of the same substance with similar functions. Containers of spirit!

The human heart embraces both the spirit and the body. It is, by design, the most important organ in the body, without it, no other organ can exist. It’s pith, however, is more ethereal for it is attuned to the Divine and acknowledges that what is, is the Divine will and we joyfully participate in it, not only because we too are Divine, but also because it was a willing choice, prior to our birth, when omniscience was part of our being and we could choose the experiences we call life with angelic guidance and without the ego’s intervention.

When you go deep within your being Lee, you will remember this truth and much more. Awareness is an equal gift from God to all. It is the remembering that is selective by each of us, and the levels of enlightenment are the precipitation of our selections. There are only two emotions available to humankind. Love and fear. All other emotions, are derivatives. You will remember more, love more, if you let go of fear. It may seem hard for you to comprehend this as you fight the cancer in your head, but it is very important and I urge you to read the wonderful book of Dr. Jerry Jampolsky — Love Is Letting Go Of Fear. He is a good friend. He speaks the truth from the Divinity of his heart and I encourage you to read it.

I am going to end this for now. There are more letters to come as I share with you the beliefs of my soul as we both move toward Truth through the magnificent companionship of family.

I love you very much and send you healing light, use it as you will.