I just finished At The Root Of This Longing by Flinders. In the epilogue, she tells the story of her friend with breast cancer. Although an atheist and one who poo-pooed meditation, she kept asking Flinders for a mantra to carry her through chemo. Finally she hit on, ‘All will be well, and all will be well and all manner of thing will be well’ by Julian of Norwich (which TS Eliot used in his final poem of his Four Quartets).
Unfortunately, one of my best friends has breast cancer, too. My mother and her sister had it, as did one of her daughters–my cousin. It’s not a remote possibility that one of my daughters–or even both–may eventually have breast cancer. Yet all of us will experience, already have experienced, the social cancer that discriminates against gender, against life itself. There is much unfinished business, much tragedy and suffering to come, yet there is a strange kind of joy too, that’s two-fold: 1. to know, right now, what’s really happening; 2. to know, in the end, ‘all will be well, and all will be well and all manner of thing will be well.’ Our friend Linda and her idol, Jack Layton, both had cancer yet both were joyful.
It’s synchronous this book should come into my life, as I adjust to my disability, as my friend battles cancer, as I am reminded that John Lennon struggled with battering, as I too struggle with white male privilege, both personal and social, as I unpack my invisible backpack, as one thing leads to another. Feminism is a huge piece of the puzzle of the picture of wholeness.