When I go out to meet the light, the shadow of my body follows me, but the shadow of my spirit precedes me and leads the way to an unknown place
- Kahlil Gibran

Friday, November 13, 2009

In Celebration of Life

A few weeks ago, my friend K whom I had helped a few months back called me to announce that she has been stricken with another round of cancer of the blood. This girl is only 23 years old and she runs her own charity organization for kids with cancer at a particular hospital. Needless to say she was upset, the memory of the pains and hardships to barely overcome the first cancer left her demoralized and in a defeated tone she told me that she didn't have the strength to go through this again - she was prepared for the worse.

A week ago I called her up and we setup a lunch appointment. As we dined on our Japanese food, I looked at K properly. I was impressed by what I saw; she had quit smoking for 2 months and was swimming regularly. The treatment was painful and expensive, essentially injecting clean blood into bone marrow in her right leg every week. But apart from her sore leg which left her with a noticeable limp, you couldn't perceive any other symptoms. To be quite honest, I had never seen her looking so beautiful and healthy. I pointed it out to her and told her that the crisis has looked like a huge blessing more than anything else so far.

She told me that she had just returned from Australia, her best friend has arranged for her to return to Sydney and spend time with her family for her birthday. K still lives in MAlaysia while her family resides in Sydney. Unbeknownst to K, this best friend had also called on K's old friends that she had not seen in years because they had moved overseas to different countries. Best friend told them K's predicament and her friends agreed to travel to Sydney and surprise her on her birthday.

K said that the first few days she was in Sydney were spent doing the things she had enjoyed when she lived there - surfing, climbing, walking along the beach etc. Things that she hadn't done in ages since living in KL and taking on the all consuming life of a corporate worker toiling in the city. My heart clenched as I heard this, I knew precisely what she was speaking of.

On the day of her birthday the weather was sunny. Her best friend had organized a BBQ in the backyard and K assumed it was nothing more than a quiet small gathering. Gradually at different intervals, a long unseen friend would show up at the door. "All that food piled on the BBQ and then there were my dear friends whom I had not seen in ages gathered around from all over... it was the happiest day of my life". I could picture it well, her friends casting goodwill and just celebrating K being alive and nothing else. What a beautiful occasion. Strong emotions washed through me as I recalled my friends in California gathering to bid me farewell. I missed them dearly too, I knew of the powerful impact to suddenly have them show up out of love in such a way. K told me, "I found the strength to fight this now, I know again why life is worth living."

Monday, November 2, 2009

An interesting fact

"If you had put $10,000 into stocks of companies with the highest paid CEOs of the previous year from January 1991 to December 2004, you would have ended up with only $8,079, while the same money invested in the S& P 500 would have returned you $48,530 - that is six times as much." - William Bonner and Lila Rajiva - 'Mobs, Messiahs and Markets'.

Source: http://www.faireconomy.org/press/2005/EE2005.pdf