"I am relating with my cancer as I would with a friend. I am not pushing it out of my life and do not hate it." These are the words of the well-known poet Lee Hae-in Claudia, a Sister who has been fighting cancer for the last four years and has learned much in the battle.
is 67 years old and, as the interviewing journalist notes, still
exuding a great deal of happiness despite what she's been through. And still very active, traveling to all kinds of events and giving even more lectures than before the cancer was discovered.
Becoming depressed because of cancer is a normal occurrence, but for Sister Lee it did not happen that way. Every day, every moment, is filled with energy; there's no time to be depressed, she explained. The journalist was mystified by her ability to be happy despite the cancer, and expressed this to the poet. Sister said she
had the same feelings the journalist had mentioned when she met Mother
Teresa of Calcutta back in 1994 and asked her, What she found the most
difficult thing in her life. Mother Teresa said it was when she felt Jesus was not there. The journalists scolded her, sister said, for not asking Mother Teresa when she was the happiest, instead of when she was unhappy. But Sister Lee began talking again about her own periods of difficulty and how they had made her stronger.
oneself completely to living the religious life is not easy and
becoming famous has brought even more difficulties. Things that I didn't
want were happening, the Sister said, and she feared being exposed to
the world. She was not comfortable traveling and giving lectures. But after 30 years of being lauded for her poetry she has grown used to it, and can now harmonize her religious life and her public activities.
After the discovery of colon cancer, her life was bound to change a great deal, she admitted. And the thought of being kept in a room and being treated for the
cancer did enter her mind, but it was not what happened. She did not
have to wrestle with her inner feelings and took it in stride. When she
went for chemotherapy, it was like going on a picnic. When she gave
talks to those battling cancers, she said their tears were a consolation
to her. The cancer has prompted much of her poetry; without it, she says, she would not have written.
Those who have met sister only by reading her poetry believe she must be a quiet, meditative person; those who know her personally, however, see her
as a strong and joyful person. She mentions that as a child she was
very self-conscious but realized that this was perceived as being smug. She entered the convent and worked at becoming a joyful person, where she has found, she says, the happiness she was looking for.
is your key to happiness? the journalist asked her. "To live each day
as the last and to live each moment to the fullest," was the response.