Several months ago, my youngest child, Kira and I stopped at small a vegetable and flower shop on the way home from picking her up from high school here in Tampa. I had passed by the shop many times and had many times resisted the urge to stop in. This particular day was one of our usual sweltering summer days here in Florida. Hot and humid. My daughter was thirsty, as was I. As we passed the shop, two sandwich boards outside caught my attention. One said ” Ripe Tomatoes”. The other said “Cold Drinks”.
A Tomato is Fruit
I slowed the car and turned into the parking lot behind the shop. My daughter and I went in and began looking through the coolers and shelves to find a cold drink and an after school snack. As we were doing so, my cell phone rang. I could see it was my wife Michelle. I picked up expecting to hear her happy voice as it was Friday, finally the end of the work week. Instead, what I heard was crying. She was talking but I could not understand what she was saying. I walked away from my daughter so that she couldn’t hear the conversation. My wife had gone to her doctor for a follow up visit after she had an D&C several weeks before. The followup was routine as the doctor expected the biopsy of the small polyp they found prior to the D&C to be normal. In fact the doctor told her that 99% of the time these polyp biopsies are normal. Instead, in Michelle’s case, the biopsy showed a grade 1 endometrial cancer. She was panicked and shocked. Finally she calmed down and said she would be home shortly.
Here is the reader’s digest version, greatly condensed, of what occurred over the next few months.
Michelle was referred to one of the top oncologist surgeons at Moffitt Cancer Center at the University of South Florida , here in Tampa. Moffitt has a national reputation as a leading cancer research institution and hospital . She had a battery of blood tests and scans, all of which did not detect any other cancers in her body. After we met the oncologist several weeks later, he theorized that the removal of the polyp during the D&C may have in fact removed all the cancer. But, he remained suspicious that there still maybe cancer cells in her reproductive organs and said that a total hysterectomy was needed. At age 47 my wife was not ready for a hysterectomy, but, there were no plans for more children, so she agreed to the surgery to be done as soon as possible.
In a nutshell, our life together as we knew it came to a screeching halt. I have studied A Course in Miracles for over 20 years and had been formally teaching it fort he past 3 years . Even so, many fear thoughts arose during the weeks between diagnosis and the surgery. During that time, as much as possible, I called to mind the teachings of the Course. In the weeks prior to my wife’s diagnosis, I had been directly guided by Jesus to immerse myself in and teach the lessons about Peace. Especially #185, “I Want The Peace Of God”, and #110, “I Am As God Created Me.” And also lesson 14 that essentially says that what was not created by God, does not exist. I also held the thought that God did not create cancer, so it does not exist. I want the peace of God above all else. Over and over I would roll these lessons through my mind in an effort to bring myself into a state of peace and trust. These lessons were extremely helpful and comforting. I could feel the warm embrace of peace break through the sting of fear thoughts.
Even though Michelle has no real interest in the studying the Course , on a Saturday morning a few weeks before her surgery , at the breakfast table, I talked to her about wanting the peace of God above all else. We talked a bit about the miracle of choosing peace. She was receptive. And so, the two of us agreed that above all else, we want the peace of God.
Lesson 185 says, in part, that “Two minds with one intent become so strong that what they will becomes the Will of God”.
The evening before we were to meet her surgeon for the first time, for some reason, out of the blue, I was inspired to ask Michelle this question: Did you know that a tomato is a fruit?
She laughed, being the amateur chef that she is, “yes of course I know, everybody knows that”! She asked why I asked her that. I said I didn’t know.
The next day, while we were sitting in the oncologist’s office waiting to meet him for the first time, Michelle ran down the hall to use the bathroom. A few minutes later, she came back in saying “you will never believe what I just saw in the hallway.” She then proceeded to tell me that there were large photos of each of the four surgeons on the hallway wall. She said each surgeon’s photo included their personal favorite inspirational quote. She asked ,” guess what my doctor’s quote is”? I said I had no idea.
Then she told me that her surgeon’s photo was of him in a garden, with a vine of tomatoes over his shoulder. Underneath his photo, it said:
“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad”.
And with that, we knew that Jesus was in charge and had guided us to the right place, even within the dream of separation. For, you see, ever since Jesus appeared to me at a Hay House convention in Ft Lauderdale almost 20 years ago, I have done my best to trust his moment to moment guidance. The Course in Miracles is my written guide. His voice and his presence whispers to me throughout the day. I learned a long time ago that I, of my own little ego personal self, do not have the ability to navigate life on my own. But that I simply needed to step back, and let Christ walk ahead of me in all matters. As a lawyer, I step back and let him walk into the courtroom before I. As a father and husband, I do my best to let him speak through me, to step back, and let Christ get there before my little I. As a teacher of ACIM, getting out of the way to let him speak is what I do best.
It was apparent that he had already chosen the surgeon and the outcome. I understand that this was part of the already written script and that all that we seem to experience in the dream is already past, and that what we seem to experience are really memories of what is no longer in the mind. I know that this is true. Years ago, when this became apparent to me for many reasons, I began asking Divinity to show me the truth, to show me in a way I could understand , that it is a dream that has passed. A dream that is done and over. I have been shown this in many ways , many times. And so it was clear to me that my question the night before about the tomato being a fruit, was a memory of mine, rising to the surface, a memory of an event that already “happened” in the dream of separation that has already passed away, and is done.
It was also apparent that what Jesus says in ACIM, Chapter , IV, is the Truth:
“Once you accept His Plan as the one function that you would fulfill, there will be nothing else the Holy Spirit will not arrange for you without your effort. He will go before you making straight your path, leaving in your way no stones to trip on, no obstacles to bar your way. Nothing you need will be denied you. Not one seeming difficulty but will melt away before you reach it. You need take thought for nothing, careless of everything EXCEPT the only purpose that you would fulfill.”
Over the years, I have called to mind these words so many times that they have become part of me. I realize now, that we all can trust these words to “walk ahead of us, to arrive at the seeming problem, well before we are even aware of it.” God has indeed walked ahead of us when we do our best to fulfill our function of forgiveness, to look on devastation and know, really know, there is no truth to the sickness and misery that we see.
And yet fear did its very best to make a run at my resolve to stay in peace. Time after time, cancer would call to me telling me how it would ruin my life as knew it. It would snatch by best friend from me and throw the rest of my life into an uncertain tailspin. Time after time I chose peace. And yet time after time fear would slip in the back door of my mind in an effort to make itself known. As A Course in Miracles student and teacher, I kept thinking that I needed to heal my wife’s cancer. I needed to to be in charge. I kept thinking I should be doing something more. I kept asking what to do, what thought to hold. And then, a few days before her surgery, I was frustrated and exhausted from the mental gymnastics. Trying to “do ” something began to feel like a burden too heavy to continue to carry. I was urged by Spirit to let go, trust and remember that “I of my own self can do nothing, but that the Christ that I am in truth, does all things that seem to need doing.” So I did my best to get out of the way.
I began to become aware that I wanted peace AND I wanted my wife to be healed as well. Jesus urged me to realize that trying to hold both thoughts was NOT peaceful. While the wanting of healing seemed to be something I should “hold”, it actually had a feeling of fear, which was anything but peaceful.
On the morning before her surgery, I woke up at about 4 a.m. I had gone to bed asking Jesus for a specific answer to a specific question. I wanted to know what single thought he held prior to and during the crucifixion. I wanted to know “where” he planted himself to still himself so that nothing could pull him from peace. I said to him that A Course in Miracles has so many words and so many gifts. But after 20 years of study and application I wanted a simple truth from him. After all, it would seem he didn’t have A Course in Miracles to study when he walked the earth. He didn’t mentally review the Course workbook in his days on earth. I wanted a simple answer.
At 4 a.m. that morning, the Christ in me awoke along with the little me. I could literally feel a seemingly dormant part of me , Christ, trying to speak out, trying to break out of a shell. At the same time, I also felt Jesus speaking in unison with the Christ of Paul. The Jesus Christ and Paul Christ had one Voice. There was no difference between the “two”. The Unified Voice was that of God’s innocent Child, His One Creation, His Child, His Love . That Child is the Christ that we are. And the Christ Child spoke. Jesus, who has taken the lead for us to follow, carries the Christ in all of us. From deep, deep within my Heart, in Unison with the Christ in me, Jesus simply gently whispered, in answer to my question:
” I KNOW PEACE”
I could actually feel the vibration of this voice within me. It was as if the real “I” of me spoke. And at the same time it was Jesus.
Then there was profound silence. Long profound silence. I had expected to hear more. There must be more. What else, Jesus, did you hold within through the seeming pain of the crucifixion ?
And again, I felt the gentle whisper from within:
“I KNOW PEACE”
Deep peaceful silence followed. Nothing else followed. I waited. But there was only Peaceful Silence. And then I understood the profound peaceful silence. The absence of additional words was the exclamation point, the bold print and the underscoring of the fact that there is nothing else to know. There nothing else but the Kingdom of Peace.
Jesus knows peace, and knows nothing else. The Christ in me knows peace and nothing else. Wow! I basked in the silence of the peace of Christ for hours and carried it with me to Moffitt Cancer Center. It stayed with me. After the surgery that lasted into the evening, I sat with the surgeon. He said all went well and he found no cancer anywhere else. At the follow up appointment he said all biopsies were negative. She needed no additional treatment at all and that said he does not expect to see her ever again.
I couldn’t resist. I said , “doctor, God does’t create cancer.” He said ,”no, thats no true. God does create cancer but he gives us the cure for it too. ” I didn’t want to press the issue as I felt I said what Jesus asked me to say. It was enough. The doctor heard Spirit’s words. No more words were needed.
As we were leaving, Christ spoke within again and whispered, with a smile, “I KNOW PEACE”. We shook his hand and thanked him for his kindness and skill. As we left, I know that the Light of the Christ in the doctor would awaken. For we are one Christ, one Love. Peace has walked ahead, clearing the path and removing all thorns. We just need to trust a singular thought. Let no other thought come after this thought. None. Allow no other thought. Stop here with this thought of Jesus Christ. Make it yours:
“I KNOW PEACE”.
And then feel the warm embrace of peacefulness, of knowing no other thought. Stay here in the Kingdom. All else needed has been provided through no effort of your own. Rest here all of your days. When there is temptation to take in the thoughts of the world, just stop and Know Peace. And then be still. Look from peace at the memory of false fear thoughts knocking at the door of your mind. To the fear thoughts, say, “I don’t know you. Be on your way. I know peace. And I know nothing else.”