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Cancer and the Will of the Creator

Mahin Pouryaghma | Jun 8, 2024

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith.

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Mahin Pouryaghma | Jun 8, 2024

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith.

Lately, I am in shock, and I am laughing at the irony of life. Here I am, cancerous, waiting to die, and hoping to leave soon, and two people who are very close to me are going, too.

One is possibly on her way to the next world due to toxic shock syndrome, and the other may have a long, hard battle with her health due to possible AML, a form of fast-growing leukemia. Right now, as my death continues to approach, nothing seems to make much sense.

This situation with my two dear friends upsets me. I’m thinking that maybe this is one of my spiritual tests — do I trust the Creator strongly enough to be humble? Do I realize and accept that God knows what God is doing, and accept His will, whether for me or my loved ones? 

RELATED: Death: Summoned to a Reckoning

This kind of test, coming as it does at the end of my life, surprises me. I thought that I had come along a good distance spiritually, but now I see I must begin once again from the starting line.

A few hours ago, I tried to find some clothes to wear that won’t trigger my burning/itching skin. Because of this condition, most of my good clothing — normally reserved for going to public places and nice enough not to wear every day — I now wear to bed, which usually sane people would not do. I said to myself, I shouldn’t wear these clothes in bed, but should save them for the future — which sounded to my own ears so funny that I started laughing. I realized that this day, this moment, is my future here in this world. It felt so strange.

We are not sure, but it seems that my cancer might be metastasizing to my pancreas because I have a very minute pain or awareness of pain in the right side of my abdomen. The pain isn’t strong enough yet to take pain relievers for it, but the hospice nurses have offered many choices of dealing with my pain, from Tylenol to morphine. Consulting with them, I’ve decided morphine will be reserved for the last stage of my physical life. 

So maybe, finally, the beginning of the end has begun. I am praying hard that I won’t chicken out if and when the pain becomes more unbearable than I can handle. I know, from witnessing what can happen to others here in my nursing home, that severe pain at the end of life can threaten people’s faith and dependence on God.

I keep reminding myself that in the Baha’i writings, Baha’u’llah promises us:

I swear by My life! Nothing save that which profiteth them can befall My loved ones. To this testifieth the Pen of God, the Most Powerful, the All-Glorious, the Best Beloved. … Let not the happenings of the world sadden you. I swear by God! The sea of joy yearneth to attain your presence, for every good thing hath been created for you, and will, according to the needs of the times, be revealed unto you. … O my servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace. 

So I am holding on to this Baha’i promise, and will trust that the loving God will give me the strength to go through whatever it is that I have to go through to get past this mortal plane.

This morning, I woke up from a nightmare. I used to have a very similar dream for many decades of my life, in which I found myself helplessly stuck in the country of my birth, Iran. The dream takes place during a time when persecution of the Baha’is in Iran was at one of its worst peaks, so I felt terrified. 

Interestingly, for the past decade, I have not had that dream, but last night, this terrible dream revisited me, or I revisited it. 

In the dream, I was in a small town with a large group of the persecutors of the Baha’is. Those persecutors were dressed like the KKK, except in blue and not covering their faces, and even the children of this town were trained to persecute Baha’is. I thought I was healthy enough mentally to have left those old fears behind, but alas, they apparently still follow me. Maybe, I thought, these fears reflect some lingering small fear of death, of my annihilation. I have to remind myself that this passage from the Baha’i writings assures us that every spiritual seeker is immortal:

Having, in this journey, immersed himself in the ocean of immortality, rid his heart from attachment to aught save Him, and attained unto the loftiest heights of everlasting life, the seeker will see no annihilation either for himself or for any other soul. He will quaff from the cup of immortality, tread in its land, soar in its atmosphere, consort with them that are its embodiments, partake of the imperishable and incorruptible fruits of the tree of eternity, and be forever accounted, in the lofty heights of immortality, amongst the denizens of the everlasting realm.

RELATED: Death, Dreams, and the Dawn of My Next Existence

Then, when I woke up in the morning, a thought came to me independent of that dream. Every time I visit our cancer center, they give us a questionnaire, one side of it dealing with the physical aspects of the disease and the other side focusing on the mental and emotional aspects. For instance: “From 1-5, how depressed are you?” My answer has always been the same — zero. 

So today, filling out that questionnaire after my nightmare, and recognizing the beautiful promises that the Baha’i teachings reveal about eternal life, I realized I was telling the universe that I am happy to be on the Earth. This physical existence has given my soul time and the place to develop and grow in preparation for my last and real home — the next world. So why should I be unhappy or depressed? 

I told Mother Earth that I was very pleased with her and her generosity in allowing me to live this long and learn this much.

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Comments

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  • Mahin Pouryaghma
    Jun 11, 2024
    -
    Nancy Dinnigan-
    Thank you. I am still learning to respond to comments on this post. Not sure if I should hit reply on email notification or respond back here.Please respond back if you were able to read it this way.
  • Mahin Pouryaghma
    Jun 11, 2024
    -
    Rosslyn and Steven Osborne-
    Thank you very much. I am trying to learn how to respond.
  • Rosslyn and Steven Osborne
    Jun 10, 2024
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    Dearest Mahin, I am writing again to you from Queensland Australia and had been so concerned' at not hearing from you for some time.
    I was so excited to be able to share your story with my friend Maureen again as we have been praying for you.
    You have brought so much help and understanding to our lives. Bahá'i love Rosslyn Osborne
  • Nancy Dinnigan
    Jun 9, 2024
    -
    ❤️🌺
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