I was only 10-years-old lying in a hospital bed at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC, battling Hodgkin Lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system). Scared of not knowing what was wrong with me, frightened by the thought of dying, thoughts and feelings no child should have to experience, when a close family friend gave me this note.
“You may not know why you are going through this now, but it will all make sense to you one day and you will have a special gift to share with the world.”
It didn’t mean much to me then, although reading it I remember brought me some comfort, as I grew older I would understand exactly what those words meant. What was this gift? When would I find it? It took me many years and different windy roads to finally find out what it was I would share with the world. This gift would ultimately become my Truth.
You may ask, “What is the lesson in a child having cancer?” “What good can possibly come from it?” and for that matter “What is the benefit when any tragedy strikes?” These answers are not always on the surface; sometimes it’s encoded deep within us. Sometimes it reveals itself quickly and other times it will wait for a precise moment to uncover the meaning.
When my test came back diagnosing me with cancer, life began to lay down a foundation that had three main ingredients for me to grow upon…the power of music, the act of giving and the showing of love. Each of these sprinkled in to my daily routine throughout my treatment without me realizing the impact that they would have on my life.
Playing music in the hospital recreation room offset days of chemo and radiation. There was a drum set, guitar and keyboard. I may not have played in tune or had any rhythm, but I traveled to a place of peace and harmony when I put my hands on one of those instruments. There was no nausea from the chemo or tiredness from the radiation. There was just playing music, being in that moment, I was a healthy kid again! The Power of MUSIC!
People I didn’t know would send me get-well cards and presents. “Charlie you don’t know me but I pray for your speedy and healthy recovery.” A volunteer would come every Thursday to the hospital and play music for myself and the other patients. My nurses would break rules to allow me to play in the hallway with my remote control car and sneak me in pizza when I didn’t want to eat the hospital food. They would stay after their shift to take care of me and make sure I was ok. The Act of GIVING!
No matter how scared or tired my parents were, they would stay with me from morning till night rubbing my head and assuring me I was going to feel better. My sisters would come to my bedside and make me laugh, letting me know that no matter what they were by my side. My school and the community would welcome me back home. The Showing of LOVE!
I look back at that time and say thank you! Cancer gave me the life I have today. It introduced me to those three key ingredients.
Music, Giving and Love.
Music has been a part of my life ever since those days in the recreation room. I am now 37-years-old and have been a full-time musician for almost 20 years. In the last couple of years, I finally fully realize how much my music and story can make a difference. I’m able to share my gift that my friend so knowingly wrote about through the power of my music, speaking the story of my survival, giving of my time and showing my love to people all over the country. This gift is my Truth, all my dreams and aspirations align with my soul’s purpose.
We all have a special gift to share with the world, even if we don’t realize it yet. Take a look at the ingredients that make up your foundation and then build on it. Your Truth is waiting.
I would love to read about what you find in the comments below. What are your key ingredients? I look forward to reading them and connecting with you.
Charlie Scopoletti is a two-time cancer survivor and singer/songwriter, living his truth every moment of every day. Charlie shares his story of survival in his writing, speaking and in his music that he defines as “Perspective Music”. His debut album “Truth” draws from the unique perspective of someone who’s faced and overcome adversity. Connect with him on his website, Facebook and Twitter.