I was writing about Haanel’s Part Twenty-One when he called.
I was saying that this chapter could stand on its own as a powerful essay. If I were to read only one chapter it would be this one. I had highlighted so much:…think big thoughts…The real secret of power is consciousness of power…whatever we become conscious of, is invariably manifested in the objective world…mind is extraordinary in quality, limitless in quantity, and contains possibilities without number…it is well to hold ideas large enough to counteract and destroy all small or undesirable tendencies…one of the methods of organizing victory…He thinks big thoughts…we find that our lives are simply the reflection of our predominant thoughts…if you do not like the pictures, destroy the negatives and create new pictures…continue to hold the picture in mind until results are obtained…Do not hesitate to aspire to the highest possible attainments in anything you may undertake…think of the ideal as an already accomplished fact.
As I said, I was writing about Haanel when I received the call from Jon.
To the European reader, in the U.S. the song Frère Jacques is not so much about Brother Jacob, the monk who overslept and was urged to wake up and sound the bells for matins. It is sometimes called “Are You Sleeping,” and is about a sleeping brother named John, or in this instance, my brother, Jon.
The day before the call: Suffering abdominal pain, Jon had driven himself to the hospital, feinted, was transferred to a more advanced hospital and underwent emergency surgery for what was believed to be an infection or other complication from a year-old appendectomy. When he called, I didn’t understand him, but knew I was talking to the narcotics. I also knew that he was alone.
Jon has a home a ways east of Columbus, Ohio in the town of Nashport. Scarce local employment opportunity has him managing an auto repair shop in Cleveland, over two hours away where he keeps a small efficiency apartment. He’s been there a year and knows exactly four people; all mechanics. Its all work until he drives home for his days off. He’s in Ohio, I’m in Minnesota, and our sister, Janis, lives in New Jersey. After a second confusing call with Jon, Janis and I spoke and decided I’d go to Cleveland to find out what’s what. I packed for five days and stayed for sixteen.
When I arrived the next morning, the surgeon had just been there and told Jon he had colon cancer. At 53 he’s still the baby of the family and these things don’t happen. What followed were complications, a second surgery, NG tubes, wound vacs, and generally painful and very unpleasant things. Jon and I, having both lost women to that damnable breast cancer, witnessing the lengthy process, know what may lie ahead for him. He is frightened. He’ll undergo chemo at least, but how much more is speculation at this point. How I wish he understood the power of visualization. It is pointless to attempt a crash course, but I can continue to feed bits of helpful information.
I stayed with him from seven in the morning until ten in the evening. I was only comfortable when he slept. Dormez-vous ? or is it tu? With unreliable internet and the regular commotion of hospital procedures I was unable to think of myself, the blog, my DMP, or any of it: I wasn’t getting emails. I was out of the Master Key…for a while.
Later, when he started watching TV, I couldn’t hold any constructive thoughts in my head. The History Channel and Discovery Channel have nothing to do with either. I can tell you all about mining gold in Alaska, homesteading in Alaska, pawn brokers in Las Vegas, searching for the lost Dutchman mine somewhere out west, restoring 60’s muscle cars, salvaging trees out of swamps by people that still have a few of their teeth, and other topics I have thankfully forgotten. I felt my IQ steadily drain by about 30 points. It’s his room. It’s his cancer. I kept thinking of the extraneous TV time I’d given up for my DMP…but this wasn’t about me. I was truly out of it.
With the “C” news, Janis drove out from New Jersey. Being a nurse practitioner, Jon was comfortable with her being there when the doctors gave us updates. I convinced her to leave after about five days to keep her scheduled flight to Finland. I would stay as long as I was able. Going on her vacation would also signal to Jon that she thought things were OK.
Thirteen days after I arrived, after several setbacks, Jon was finally released and I drove him home. I stayed with him for three more days then drove home myself.
You’re probably asking what this personal story has to do with my experience in the Master Key course. The short answer is nothing and everything. I said I was out for a while. I wasn’t reading Og or Haanel, flashing cards, verbally claiming my DMP, or any of that. Yet…everything was “colored” by this experience. I don’t know how else to explain it. I was always thinking of it. So many times I remember thinking, “I wish he knew about…” I listened to what the doctors and nurses said and reflected on how it fit (or didn’t) into this way of thinking. I missed reading Haanel. I was aware and concerned about falling further behind (and knew I would have to pay for it catching up), yet still found it difficult to move. I visualized for him.
Looking back, had I pulled out the Franklin makeover I could have filled it with so many check marks in those couple of weeks. What sticks strongest in my mind are thoughts of courage, kindness, and gratefulness. Courage everywhere: Jon, definitely the nurses, and even at times, me. Kindness = nurses. There are so many things for which I’m grateful: A terrific new hospital. The quality of medical care and professional personnel. The facility near his home to send nurses out three days a week to change his wound-vac dressing. I’m grateful that Jon took the advice of his older brother to consult his headhunter about quitting his current job. Jon was looking to change jobs. A headhunter had contacted him and sent him on a few interviews. One company looked so promising that Jon was going to quit his job to have a little time off before starting the new job. I said it was a bad idea. Janis said it was a bad idea. He was about to quit anyway. I suggested he contact the headhunter to get her opinion on his being unemployed in the event this deal fell through. She said it was a bad idea. That was about four weeks before the operation. He kept working. The deal fell through. I am so grateful that Jon is insured and has a job to return to when he is able. I don’t want to think about what two operations, seventeen days in the hospital, and all that is to come, would look like to the uninsured. I am so grateful.
Frère Jacques, frère Jacques,
Dormez-vous ? Dormez-vous ?
Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.