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Excerpted from Building Your Field of Dreams by Mary Manin Morrissey. Copyright 1997 by Mary Manin Morrissey. Excerpted by permission of Random House, 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.

"There is a tremendous difference between fearing death and choosing life."

Mary Manin Morrissey
Building Your Field of Dreams
, Part 2

Dr. Warn told me to stop focusing on the past. What I needed to do, she said, was make a decision about my future. Whatever I deeply believed would ultimately greatly influence the outcome of my illness. "Can you believe that you don't need surgery and that both your kidneys are perfect?" she asked.

"No, I can't believe that," I answered truthfully. The tremendous pain in my back could not be denied.

"Then try this," she encouraged. "Think about the right kidney as the repository of all that is presently toxic in your life. Can you do that?"

This I could handle. My insides felt painfully noxious. I told Dr. Warn the story of my disgrace, the feelings of humiliation that still haunted me.

"So imagine," she said, "that when the kidney leaves your body, the toxicity that has been poisoning your life will disappear as well. All your guilt and shame about the pregnancy or anything else can then also be removed. Then, with all the poison gone, your other kidney will no longer be diseased."

While tests had indicated that my left kidney was also badly damaged, it did not hurt as yet, so I figured I had nothing to lose by following Dr. Warn's suggestion. I would try to create a vision of a perfectly healthy organ. And as we continued to talk I made another, deeper decision: I decided that I wanted to live.

It wasn't as if I had consciously wanted to die. Since my diagnosis I had feared death. My heart ached at the thought of leaving behind a baby I loved. I still cherished my dream of teaching. But the dream seemed more elusive than ever, and I didn't feel as if my absence from the world would leave a great void. Life had brought frustration and unhappiness; if I had nothing to look forward to but more of the same, then I wouldn't be missing out on much. In my desolation, I even imagined that my son might be better off raised by someone else.

So while I did not welcome the terrifying experience of dying, I certainly did not object strenuously to my fate. There is a tremendous difference between fearing death and choosing life.

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