spiritual writings | retreat center directory

You're invited to visit our sister site DanJoseph.com, a resource site
featuring articles on spirituality, psychology, and A Course in Miracles.

Home | Writings | Health | Lawrence LeShan | Turning part 1 | next   

Excerpted from Cancer as a Turning Point by Lawrence LeShan. Copyright 1994 by Lawrence LeShan. Excerpted by permission of Plume, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"She disliked the work intensely, but continued it in order to support her husband and daughters."

Lawrence LeShan, 
Cancer as a Turning Point
, Part 1

Maria was a Brazilian physician who loved her work as a pediatrician. Her husband was an electrical engineer who wanted only to be a poet. He hated his field of work, at which he was actually quite successful professionally. Their twin daughters, aged fifteen and a half when I first saw Maria, were apparently of very high artistic caliber. Both wanted to be actresses and had already had minor parts on the stage in small theaters.

When the daughters were ten, their talent was recognized by a well-known theatrical director. It crystallized Maria's decision to leave the Rio de Janeiro she loved so much and emigrate to London, where her daughters could receive the best education in the theater and where her husband could devote himself full time to his poetry. She told me she had not been "back home" since her arrival in England.

Maria could not, however, find work in London as a pediatrician that would bring in the necessary income for the needs of her family. The position she had been promised failed to materialize at the last moment.

She was offered a position with an adequate financial return in an oncology partnership, where she would deal chiefly with children and young people suffering from the childhood leukemias, Wilms' tumors, and so on. She disliked the work intensely, but continued it in order to support her husband and daughters. She also hated London and constantly missed Rio, where she had grown up. She described with enthusiasm and gusto the lovely beaches, the gentle climate, the easygoing and tolerant attitudes of the people, the striking architecture, and the friends she had had there: "I always felt at home wherever I was in the city. Every street felt like my own living room." She even missed speaking in her own language, she told me rather shyly.

next ->