I’m not religious, but I appreciate your thoughts and prayers

A former work colleague sends me the occasional email to check in, and always mentions that he prays for me every day. A devout Catholic, and a low-key, capable, and helpful telecommunications professional, Steve is one of dozens of friends, colleagues, acquaintances and relatives who has been thinking and in some cases praying for me during my illness. I can’t thank them enough. 

A couple here in Keene who I have known for years have also told me I am in their prayers on a daily basis. Also, my aunt Kathleen added me to the prayer list at the church she attends shortly after my diagnosis almost five years ago. I didn’t contemplate for more than a few seconds when she asked me whether I was OK with her adding my name to the list, which was announced at the end of church services for about a year.

Perhaps I am cravenly hedging my bets by welcoming these prayers. So be it. But who am I to turn away heartfelt expressions of support, whether they come in the form of a prayer, a call, card or email or a ride to radiation treatment?

I’m not an atheist, and I don’t believe in God per se. But I would like to believe, and sometimes I do, in the squishy notion of karma, that sending those clichéd “thoughts and prayers” out into the universe (not just telling someone you’re sending them, but actually taking focused time to do so) just might have energy, as yet unmeasured, that can have sort of therapeutic effect.

I know this all sounds selfish and presumptuous, given the terrible things that happen to good people around the world, and to the countless beloved people who have been felled by cancer’s ravaging force.

I make absolutely no claims to be better than anyone else, and also realize my positive response to immunotherapy may be the result of genetic characteristics randomly assigned to me.

In other words, bad luck that I got cancer, good luck that I’m responding to immunotherapy, and nothing more than that. 

But I am not about to discount the possibility that thoughts and prayers on my behalf may be playing a role in my healing and overall well-being. 

So thank you for them.

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