On Being a Jack-Ass and Accepting that You Are Loved

When we are going through difficult times, it is easy to get lost in the mess of it all. It’s easy to get depressed, to surround ourselves with thoughts of doom, to hide in the shadows. What is not so easy is getting our weary selves out into the light, to wear the smile that reminds us of the joy lurking around unexpected corners, and to keep focusing on the true business of living that we really ought to be engaged in at every available moment.

Every now and again, we need to be reminded about all of this, each of us. And it is great when we stumble across a voice that speaks to us in a way that cuts through the BS. I am going to share a piece of writing that, I think, speaks a bit of clear truth that is worth paying attention to.

The following was written by Eugene Belitsky, posting to his Facebook feed. I “met” Eugene through Facebook, I suppose, after I read some post of his (or maybe he read one of mine). It’s only been about a month, but I’m claiming chemo brain for not remembering; all I can say is that he inspired me with the way he was dealing with his recent cancer diagnosis, refusing to let that diagnosis deprive him of his humor and his joy. And I saw some similarities in our lives: we both have a young child, we both dislike snake oil salesmen and I think we have a similar sense of humor. So I have followed Eugene’s story and then about three weeks into our deepening relationship, he wrote this wizz-dinger. I immediately told him I wanted to post it here. Fortunately for you, he graciously replied that, indeed, I could. Eugene Gives Permission!

Eugene Belitsky

So friends, I'm a jackass.

No objections? No one? Ok, allow me to continue and explain. These past several weeks and especially these last few days as Jean, Logan and I have traveled up the East Coast to get second opinions, I've had a really wonderful opportunity to shift my perspective on my life so far. Between that Wednesday seven weeks ago when I was initially told that I have cancer and was given a decidedly bleak prognosis and today, when I have a far more positive outlook (more on that in another post), one thing that happened is that I was made aware of just how much love there is in my life.

Back to the jackass thing. It doesn't have to be a jackass. Plough horse, ox, yak, mule - pick any animal that has ever dragged a heavy plough through a field. I've been living life the way that, I think, most of us live our lives. Like a plough animal. Head down, sweating and struggling to move ahead, straining and focused on the next patch of dirt, the next rock or bunch of weeds or troublesome root that I need to get past.

Being diagnosed with cancer was like coming up against a boulder. Suddenly, I couldn't simply take the next step. I had to stop, look up, and figure out if there was a way around this thing.

And then, as I did that, there was everybody. From everywhere in the country and from Russia and Israel and Germany, all this love poured in. From people who knew me from the day I was born to people who had never met me in person, there it was. I was looking down and plowing ahead but, behind me, all this love had been planted, and, over all of these years, it had bloomed. Now that I had raised my head from the dirt, there it all was. There it all is.

It is a special thing to be shown that you are loved, as I have been. I hope that each and every one of you gets to be a jackass like me one day. I hope that you don't wait for a boulder to be dropped in your path to raise your head from that next bit of dirt in front of you. Go ahead and look at all of the love that you have planted over the years. There's probably a lot of it.

It is a special thing to show someone that you love them. Don't wait for all of those jackasses in your lives to need you. Get their attention and remind them to look around.

After all, that's the point. That's what all of that hard ploughing is for.

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