Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sister Hae-in Lee's December Letter

Yesterday a beloved Sister poet who is fighting cancer had an essay in the Chosun Ilbo dealing with her plans for the future. She is Sister Claudia Hae-in Lee, a member of the Olivetan Benedictine Sisters of Busan. She finished her chemotherapy and X-ray therapy and hopefully will return to health.

She is a best selling poet and admired by many in and outside the Catholic Church. Having gone through the difficulties of cancer treatment she sees life differently. It was not only her body that hurt but also her spirit. She meant to fight the cancer with a light heart but the spirit was not willing to follow; she was depressed and lonely. " She wants to live like the person who died yesterday, would have desired the next day." With this thought in her head although in pain , all seemed to change. She was beginning to live the first day of her new life. The following 4 paragraphs are the changes she hopes to make.

First, she will have more prayers of thanksgiving for what she has been given than prayers of petition. She will see more things to be thankful for in the time ahead. She will be more conscious of those sicker than she is and correspond and visit with them. Although she will not be of much help she will be able to read their hearts and share this for much personal happiness.

Second, she will see the ordinary things in life as miracles, she will train herself to be surprised, and wonder at all she sees. Every moment of every day is one to be celebrated. She will want to dance.

Third, she will work to have the presence of mind not to be embarrassed at her mistakes and faults and admit them freely. She will also be forgiving of those same mistakes in others and forgive.

Fourth, when angry and hurt she will try not to be agitated and remember that all will pass; accept all with a gentle and a calm mind. With difficult relationships she will remember she is a pilgrim made for eternity. What is it that I can't forgive, I can't understand? With this new outlook the darkness will disappear and her spirit will become bright, peace will embrace her.

This is a brief summary of the essay. I hope it is faithful to Sister's intention. It was a fruitful meditation for me and one I will return to many times in the future.

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