You Don’t Have To Like It To Love Itby Robert Meagher on 01/03/23
Last year I signed up for the Great Cycle Challenge (GCC) taking place throughout August. The GCC was to raise money for cancer research for children. I have an increasing passion for cycling and I have a personal connection to childhood cancer. So, signing up for the event was a no-brainer for me. My personal connection with childhood cancer is that my partner’s, niece’s daughter is currently undergoing treatment for lymphoma.
I began my fundraising in earnest! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the fundraising. It was exciting. Each donation I would receive filled my heart with joy, knowing how generous people were being and the support they were showing for the cause.
As with most anything in life, at least in this material world, you will have people who will support certain things, and others who will not. Deep into my fundraising efforts, an acquaintance responded to one of my fundraising emails to congratulate me on signing up for the GCC and wishing me well with my challenge. This acquaintance went on to share with me that they could not, however, in good conscience support the medical research behind the cause. This acquaintance expressed the view (and the same view as many other people share) that such medical research has been taken over by the pharmaceutical industry which has zero motivation to cure cancer, because their efforts to find a cure for cancer is really a thinly-veiled attempt to create a ‘cash cow.’ My acquaintance closed the response with a wish that my partner’s, niece’s daughter “truly heals from her cancer.” I responded to my acquaintance’s comments by thanking them for their support, blessing them, and sending them love.
I was initially taken back by my acquaintance’s response to my fundraising email. I quickly got over my reaction, realizing the message had nothing to do with me, personally. The response from my colleague was such a blessing and such a wonderful teaching. It got me thinking…
As a practicing therapist, one of the golden rules of therapy is to always, always, always, meet the client where they are. If the person is ready for a certain approach to healing, then that is what you start with. Who am I to judge what approach anyone would use to heal themselves? If the client thinks that eating Tim Horton’s donuts is what’s going to heal them, what purpose does it serve to tell them they are wrong? In the end, whatever we think will heal us, will heal us.
Had my acquaintance cared to enquire about my motivation behind signing up for the GCC, my acquaintance would have learned that I shared the same views as they did about the ethical nature of the medical system undertaking research in the name of ‘finding a cure’ for whatever ails us. If I had cancer, I may not be quick to dive into conventional treatment methods. I would more likely look to alternative approaches, approaches that might be considered by some to be more holistic in nature.
But in the case of the GCC, I put aside my own beliefs and views, and decided to give back to life—a life that has given me so much! Who am I to judge the motives of the medical industry? Who am I to judge someone who has been diagnosed with cancer and decides to undergo traditional treatment methods?
I don’t have to like something or someone to love that something or someone. I don’t have to like the medical industry. I don’t have to like cancer. In this instance, I put aside my views and personal opinions and chose to love it all, and give where I could.
There is a magnificent teaching from a great spiritual tradition that if someone asks you to do something that is insane, do it anyway, so long as it doesn’t hurt anybody. Even if you don’t agree with it!
Like with so many things in my life, and spirit-led things, I had been approached by a colleague, who knew I was a cycling enthusiast, to sign up for the GCC. I took this request, as most others, as a sign from Life that there’s something in this for me and I won’t interfere with what I am being offered. I will just go ahead and do it. I’ve never regretted this approach to life! I may not like it, but I can love it!
Robert Meagher has been ordained as an Interfaith Minister and certified as a Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) Therapist. Robert is the Founder and Spiritual Director for Spiritual Guidance and Co-Founder of the Center for Human Awakening.