Letters to Lee

Dear Friends,

This will be the last post regarding Lee. Thank you for your indulgence. Sharing some of my letters to him is a therapy for me.

Dear Lee,

Now we wait again! How difficult that must be for you. The uncertainty; constantly wondering what’s next. Moving your thoughts through a myriad of mazes made of questions. Is the tumor going to grow? Will there be more chemotherapy? Additional surgery? Can I start my life again? Is it worth it?

My spirit joins with yours in fighting the frustration of concretized expectation. Strength is gleaned from knowing that each contraction of our hearts bares a powerful message.

Listen to your heart for a moment. Feel its’ Divine onomatopoeic cadence. Now infuse into your heart rhythm, the words of the phrase “I am love.” In the truth of these words you have the mantra of miracles.

I talked to a friend about you the other day and he asked if I were able to share my feelings with you. He meant, all my feelings. Hopes and wishes, pains and tears, laughs and joys and he wondered if that’s hard for me to do. It is and it isn’t!

The words I write to you are inadequate representations of my feelings. They are just pieces of my emotions, a plethora of thoughts, made up of sadness and worry, hopes and smiles, truths and tears, then tempered and transformed into a personal and Heuristic belief that I feel I must share with you in this time of accelerated grace.

I love you, not only as my son, but as God in expression.

If I see you only as my son, only as a physical being struggling to heal, to understand, to fight, to accept the seemingly unfairness of it all, then I limit you and me. If I choose to see the Divinity within you, as you, as an expression of the continuing Divine unfoldment, then all is limitless and it is easier to share my feelings for now I see you, your tumor and your struggle and your pain from the level of unconditional love and in that place no fear can exist.

The joy of earthly existence is to see all that is as All That Is, and to learn that different, is not lesser and “the other” is not separate from the self. God cannot be unknown to himself. If you accept the premise that your spirit is Divine, then it follows there is Divinity in all others. If you see all that is through the Divinity within you, then you will see nothing, but the light of love personified. We are all one with THE ONE and therefore one with each other.

The miracle of life, however, is not the Oneness, it is the diversity within the Oneness. An ego focused existence confuses different with diversity. Living, by choosing to see others as different, inhibits the ability to express the Divine within us for we empower the ego sustained illusion that believes we are separate. We cannot be separate from what it is we are. We can think we are separate and thereby choose to live in the illusion, but the reality is we are never separate from Divine Love that is us. We are always only a choice away from the abundance that is our creation gift. The ONE-der of diversity, encourages expression of the Divine within us as us.

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

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.