After 40 years on T.V., in 3 different Western cities, I’ve become a blue-fingernailed, beanie-wearing celebrity overnight…thanks to cancer. Don’t get me wrong, I love the status upgrade but wish the circumstances were slightly different. My new-found-fame has meant well-wishes from thousands of people I don’t know personally, many of them have been religious in nature.
I’m going to cross a path here that has been the ruin of far bigger celebrities than me…I’m gonna talk about God. The risk is many of you will immediately log off (God talk has a way of doing that to some). Others of you will find my conversation blasphemous, irreverent or just reason to debate.
First, some background: Since making my cancer diagnosis public you’ve been kind enough to send me prayers and healing based on your beliefs. I thank you for that. My friends, the Gennusos, arranged for a Mass to be said in my honor, many of you have organized prayer circles and my Mormon relatives tell me cobalt blue nail polish is sold out in their Utah town. I even received a phone call from Southern India, where my Buddhist buddy, Lama Phuntsho, offered my name as part of an eight-thousand monk prayer festival. Wow. That’s all overwhelming.
Here goes the part where I should probably just say “thank you” and move on…but it’s not my nature. I am not a terribly religious guy. I’m part of that new big group of Americans that refer to themselves as spiritual but not religious. So what’s that mean? I find wonder in sunrises and sunsets, the relationship between a bee and a flower makes my eyes wide. And did you know that every single orchid on earth is designed as a runway to attract the insects that help in pollination? The workings of this world mystify me daily. That kinda stuff can be a powerful argument for God or for science. Till now, I just have happened to come down on the side of science. Your kind thoughts help me better understand what it’s like being a person of faith. I’m a modern man faced with Pascal’s Wager.
Funny thing happened to me the other day, a wonderfully talented writer from the UT, Karla Peterson, stopped by for an interview about what’s been going on. I shared with her one my recent revelations: learning that I need to be more engaged with the people around me by attending “birthdays, bar mitzvahs and weddings.” When Karla’s article appeared in Saturday’s paper, my comment had some of you wondering “Is Loren Nancarrow Jewish?” We know you’ve been wondering this through the marvel of technology (as we’ve been keeping an eye on search terms that lead you to my blog) and it turns out that more than a few of you have asked Google this question. So, let me answer it now: nope. Raised a Methodist and spent a life trying to live by the Golden Rule, failing too often but working harder at it now that I know, if there is a God, he’s watching more closely these days. Ironically, I have a longtime friend in Mark Larson, a conservative talk show host and occasional preacher. He asked me to look for meaning in everything I’m experiencing. Sound advice. Rest assured Mark, I’m looking.