Food for thought from Anticancer: A New Way of Life:
The Train to Omaha
In the weeks after the discovery of my cancer, I dashed from one appointment to another. At the end of a rainy afternoon, I was awaiting my turn in a fifteenth-floor waiting room. I stood in front of a plate glass window and watched the small figures in the street below scampering around like ants. I was no longer part of their world. They were alive; they had errands to run, plans for the future. As for me, my future was death. I had left the ant heap and I was frightened. I remembered the poem “Limited” quoted by the psychiatrist Scott Peck.
The poem’s narrator writes about a train barreling at top speed across the endless expanse of the Great Plains. He knows the final destination of these steel coaches — the scrap heap; and the fate of the men and women laughing in the compartments — dust. He asks a fellow passenger where he’s going. The man answers: “Omaha”.
In the end, even if the other ants didn’t know it, we were all going to the same place. Not to Omaha, but to dust. The last stop was going to be the same for everyone.
The only difference was that the others weren’t thinking about it, whereas I was.
Anticancer: A New Way of Life
David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D, 2008.