A Guru in the Guest Room has been out for almost 3 months and it seems to be below everyone’s radar. I had such high hopes for this book. It was written during a time when Bob, my late husband, was trying to stay alive. His diagnosis, back in 2000, was Stage III, multiple myeloma, cancer of the bone marrow. He had been given less than 3 years to live.
I was stripped down to my original emotional carcass. Every layer was pealed from me and I screamed in protest. I hollered in rage. The God I knew was not the God I wanted to know. If he could do this to me twice in one lifetime, I didn’t think much of Him, the rat bastard. For Bob and I had 2 children and the girl had died at age 7 of a childhood cancer. She had been given the same prognosis as Bob; it would take her life within 3 years.
The whole family was destroyed down to its base both times. Not only that, but all of the crutches we tried to use evaporated on us. As our daughter lay dying soon after her seventh birthday, my mother had been called home to care for her dying mother. The pediatric oncologist was in Egypt on a visit home and our minister had suddenly left the church.
The map of my emotions indicate a rough and rocky ground. Loaded with land mines, tricked out with traps and showing evidence of smoldering volcanoes. All this because “God never gives you more than you can handle.” Insert laugh. Ha ha.
You never heal from the death of a young child. I remember the clothes in her dresser drawers from that summer. I remember how mad she was when my mother visited and suggested we do some “fun painting” in her room. Her brown chest got updated to white, green and orange. She was incensed. She said she wanted it brown. Later on, we got her a used desk and I asked her what color she wanted it painted. “Black and white” was her answer. Oh, dear God, just to write this paragraph stirs something deep within me. She was being herself to the core; for that was all she had left.
When Bob found out that he was dying, he asked me to find my passion. It became writing. He left the earth plane in 2004, right before the Asian tsunami hit at the end of the year. I was washed out to sea emotionally. No life raft but that request. “Find your passion.” And so over 7 years have passed since that good man left this earth. Now my writing is a life raft for strangers who read my essays. They say things like, “You made me cry.” Or “that was exactly what I needed to hear.”
Because I am tuned into the emotional zeitgeist, whatever the heck that means. I can relate to how it feels when everything is stacked against you. You have to pull the weeds of self-pity out by the roots. You have to know that love cannot be buried in a pink dress; that a marriage doesn’t end when one spouse dies. That you are worth saving.
Swami Z was created during Bob’s illness. He is an iMaculate conception born to see me through the tough times. I give him free reign to hold satsang in my sunroom. Actually, I had it built just for that purpose. Keep in mind that he is fictional; most people find themselves laughing any time I let him waltz through an essay that I post on Facebook. He is about keeping it real. He knows full well that my passion must be stoked with humor and grace in equal measure. I know that God is the fullness of my life and that emptiness is who I really am.
Yes, my life has been shot full of holes. If you held me up to the light, I would look like swiss cheese. Strangely, these holes produce each essay that I write. The child that I lost, the husband that I cherished, speak as if they were still here, loving me to the full extent. Miracles abound when I write. Loaves and fishes multiply. That is what Bob knew when he asked me to find my passion. Check out my 2 books. They were both written when Bob was dying, if death is even something to be noted. This I know; life is where the light gets in. Laurie and Bob, dear hearts in heaven, shine on. Shine on.
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