On April 15, 2015, I walked into the emergency room with what I thought was a burst appendix.
I walked out with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. My world went on tilt.
Within the next three weeks, in a blur of emergency, a 15-centimeter tumor was removed from my stomach… the silent disease.
I went from being a “self-sufficient” I to a humbled “we.” I went from being a somebody to being everybody. Illness is the great leveler. No one asks what your credentials are when you’re lying on a gurney in an emergency room.
The ideas I write about on paper—empathy, love, courage—have hit home to me in a whole new, deeply personal way. And instead of me being the person to extend those ideas into the world, I was suddenly receiving those ideas in very real ways, incarnate in the prayers, meditations, acts of kindness… in the thousands of hands reaching out to me from around the world. I have used Facebook as never before. It has become my bridge to the hope of the future.
All I had to do was sit here and feel the world carry me when I could not walk alone.
I sit here at home in recovery from a life-changing trauma—this hot-shot educator and author of The First Turning… who on paper envisioned a kinder, more collaborative world to the real-life reality. What I see more clearly now than ever is that at the heart of every single one of us lies not war or violence, but empathy, love and humility.
I should know. I am living it.