Finding Meaning

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

JANUARY 10, 2017

Finding meaning in life, making the best choices to enrich our relationships and our souls, is a central goal for all of us who have been diagnosed with cancer. Frankly this should be a priority for everyone, but too many people manage to ignore their mortality until it stares them in the face.

This morning I am sitting in my daughter's kitchen in St Paul, MN. The snow is falling, but it is warm and comfortable here, and she makes excellent coffee. I am here this January morning because my 8 year old granddaughter has a special school event and specifically asked me to come. The airline pricing and schedule required me to take three days away from work to make this trip; that didn't come naturally to me. However, I have gotten better at getting my priorities straight, and I am so glad that I am here today.

Some of you know that I write a regular column for Cancer Today; this is the latest:

Ways to Find Meaning in Life

A cancer diagnosis can prompt survivors to question or deepen their faith.

By Hester Hill Schnipper

Cancer comes differently to each of us. Whether it announces its presence with a whisper or a roar, it changes our lives in a moment. Forever after, there is a line of demarcation, a before and an after. But always, cancer reminds us of our mortality.

Whatever our beliefs about life and death may have been before diagnosis, cancer often moves us to contemplate how best to live and what our lives really mean. The beliefs that help sustain us, especially in difficult times, are often summed up in the word “faith.”

Many people sustain their faith throughout their lives, while others shift in and out of traditions and beliefs. In a time of existential crisis, a longing for something lost or not yet found is a common reaction. All of us are searching for meaning.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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