There is a saying that nothing goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.  This is an easy concept to ponder and play with in many of life’s circumstances.  But when it comes to disease it takes on another dimension as we, and those we love, struggle to find meaning while desperately wishing, searching, and grasping for health.

Recently, our lives have been touched by so many dear friends experiencing disease.  And invariably in our discussions the question arises – “What is the lesson?  Why is this happening?  What is the meaning?”

It is such a humbling question, a question that goes as deep as the disease itself.  A question that is impossible to answer for someone else because it is an experience of an experience that is unique to each of us as we live our own lives.  But “the answer is within you” isn’t a helpful reply when a friend is searching for clarity.  It’s the kind of poignantly true answer you get on your spiritual path that provokes thought and growth, but sometimes a thirsty person just needs water, and a frightened friend just needs an answer … and I think this question is like that.

So how do you answer a question whose answer can only be known by the person asking the question?  Through a lot of trial and error and putting my foot in my mouth on more than one occasion, I started exploring it from another angle as one of my great mentors taught me: “Lets take a left turn and look at it from there.”  And I did.

I changed the question around and said, “What is the message not?”  This is an easier way to view the situation because I could instantly feel the nots.

“It’s not to hide your feelings and pretend that you are superman (woman).”

“It’s not to go it alone and isolate yourself while saying you want to spare your loved ones’ feelings.”

“It’s not to turn off your heart and only use intellect.”

“It’s not to hold back the tears, mask the fear, and cry alone in the bathroom when no one is around.”

See what I mean?  Those are instantly, obviously, not the kind of messages that our own body, or spirit, or GOD, or nature, or whatever you believe would send us.

And I noticed a trend in the not messages.  They were all about lack of connection.  They were all about walling ourselves off from love.  They were all about suppressing the true experience of the moment.  They were all about being alone.

Alone, that feeling that we have all felt, over and over throughout our lives: isolated, misunderstood, different, unloved.  And as I took a deep breath and took in those feelings, I cried.  The cry of knowing, the cry of truth, the cry of a million moments of isolation, the cry of my mom, my grandma, and all my friends touched by disease.  And then the answer became clear.

The lesson is always about connection. Always about bonding. Always, always about loving each other.

The lesson is always about connection.  Always about bonding. Always, always about loving each other.  Deeply loving.  Holding each other and looking into each other’s eyes while we cry.  Sharing our fears the way we share our victories.  Asking for help.  Accepting the support of our friends and family.  Loving the way we used to when we were innocent … simple, true, deep LOVE.

From that answer came a new question, one perhaps more profound than the first.  “Why wait for disease?  Why not connect now?  Why not bond today?  Why not love with ease and not wait for disease?”

So I write this message.  Not because I have “it” or anything figured out, for that matter.  Because I truly don’t.

I love you. I am here for you. You are not alone.

I write it to say simply to all my friends, “I love you.  I am here for you.  You are not alone.”

Big hugs of love,


  1. That was beautiful. I have struggled with this question for many years and have watched my mother struggle with pain as well. I have come to the same conclusion as you have. We are all looking for the connection this pain brings. looking for someone to care, to give us a hug. Thank you.

  2. thank you so much Jason i am going to send this to my niece Her mother my sister just died of cancer recently i think she should hear this message

    • Jason Garner says:

      Big hugs to you both. My mother passed 5 years ago from cancer. The experience was the most painful and most beautiful one of my life… in the odd way that life can mix those two emotions. big hugs of love.

  3. That is such a powerful message. I feel like I can get sucked into negativity so much, especially with my family being the negative people that they are. When I got injured last year, I thought those same things….Why is this happening to me? After all of my hard work, why is this the result? Oddly, a year later, I realized that it was about connecting. I connected to my husband on a deeper level, and realized that I was married to a gem of a person. And my relationship with my mother improved so much…..I was very grateful for that.

    Much love and hugs (thanks for always being there)

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