On my birthday last year, I wrote these words in my journal:   

I want to know more about the power of gentleness, the courage of vulnerability, the expansiveness of honored limits, the serious work humor can do, the faith which doubt inspires, and the true self which self-denial liberates.  I want to know how we “descend to meet” (Emerson’s phrase) and rise to dance.  I want to hear the Laughter which lies deeper than the deepest silence and the Music which sounds and sings its way into Now from Beyond.

I have been pursuing these lessons, and, now, cancer is proving to be a particularly effective, though uninvited (!), teacher.