Original post can be found in Paul’s new Blog entitled “Finding Inner Strength” dedicated to the Men’s Cancer Support Group.
I sit here this morning listening to the lyrics of a song I have listened to perhaps more than a thousand times. My music tastes have not changed in the past forty or so years. Groups like Led Zeppelin (playing now), Aerosmith, The Who, The Rolling Stones (of course), Bruce (last name not required), Tom Waits and Lynyrd Skynyrd have filled my head with their verses, their poetry, their drum solos with countless CD’s, cassettes, 8-tracks, and LP’s over the years, and they are now all sitting inside this tiny little IPOD. Today’s technology anchors me to my past and believe me, although I know there’s a bright future out there for me, my wife and our two children, the music of my past will come along for the ride. The reason I mention music in today’s post reflects on a revolving conversation we’ve been having at our Men’s Group the past couple of months and it involves whatever you believe regarding “the man upstairs” and our own spirituality. I was raised in a Catholic household and attended Sunday mass regularly and as I got older I was allowed to take my younger brother to Saturday evening mass freeing up our collective Sunday to spend it wrestling outside, playing football with the kids in the neighborhood or doing whatever young adolescent boys do. I cannot tell you the last time I was inside a church, and it certainly was not to attend mass. My guess is probably a wedding or a funeral. Funny how those two nouns are so closely related. Anyway, my spirituality comes from within, from trusting what I believe to be true and not really thinking, or concerning myself with any deity. When I listen to Springsteen I am taken back to the days of my youth where the three of us would run around town in my buddies beat-up 1970 Maverick and that’s the spirit that lives inside me today. I love thinking about what those days were like – unfocused, unrestrained, and free to do pretty much whatever we deemed appropriate. The tagline for this blog is “Where Judgment is Left at the Curb” and I think it’s very important to recognize this as you read this and future blog posts. The first Thursday of every month is now on a few schedules here in Sonoma County where we sit, we listen, we purge, vent, question, lean on each other and quickly realize how fast ninety minutes disappears. In my readings recently I came across the thoughts of “Linda”  who states “In four difficult years following the diagnosis, my heart embraced a life lesson that Adrienne Rich shared in her poetry: “I came to see the damage that was done and the treasures that prevail.” The treasures that prevail … this too is one subject we will undoubtedly discuss as our wives, girlfriends, and partners continue onward. The treasures that prevail have been uncovered by my wife and I. The one treasure recognized immediately after our Stage 2 diagnosis was my wife’s inner strength. In our Men’s Group; we know there will be chaos, we know there will be surprises, both internal and external, there will be choices, there will be decisions made, both favorable and regrettable, and let’s be real – there will be loss. All I want to offer is a place to come and relax in an environment where judgment is left at the curb where we look for the treasures which may prevail …
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