I am now clearly recalling my own experience in my early 20’s with a terminal kidney disease.  I am not so much remembering the hardship, but what I learned …

“That we must all die, we always knew; I wish I had remembered it sooner.”

Samuel Johnson, 18th century  

This is what I learned at 27:

Despite planning, the unexpected usually happens. Your life could end at any time.

Remembering this helps savor the moments.

We have very little control.

Question received wisdom.

You don’t know anything –  not why things happen nor what lies beyond. Neither does anyone else.

There are road maps but you still have to find your own way, even if you take the main roads.

To extract meaning from inevitable reversals  is to rescue your life from pointlessness and lend nobility to your suffering.•

Curing and healing are two separate events. The cure took several years for me, but the healing took much longer…..how even to begin?

Medicine is as much an art as it is a science, and the best doctors are the greatest artists; In tricky situations your guess could be as good as theirs.

If you think you are a person of faith….not so fast.  To get through really hard times, faith has to be deep, and has to be reaffirmed (by choice) at critical intervals in order to deepen even more. In this situation some gain faith and some lose it. 

Prayer provides ineffable support although no explanation. Dialogue with the Unseen also helps and can reveal a direction.

I extracted meaning from my suffering, and  that meaning brought a deep comfort.

I decided that I had been living falsely. I made a promise to myself that if I lived, I would  happy.  

As it turned out, happy meant that I had to find myself,

Finding myself and my unique path and purpose is was what saved me. I now know that deviation from that path would have brought further suffering.

That life may not have meaning is certainly plausible … all events could be random. BUT  I can attest to the fact that by extracting from my suffering profound joy is possible.