One thing is true, we are not the same people we were twelve months ago.
Serious illness has a way of reminding us of just how fragile life can be. I have walked many of these past months struggling to come to peace with my death. I cried tears of loss and sorrow. My sorrow was not for me, but for those whom I would leave behind. There were times of anguish as I thought of what I would miss as my family grew and continued their way through life. Nancy and I met with a funeral home director to ensure everything was set and ready to go when “the time came”. We sat around a large table with our financial planner and had blunt, open conversations about how best to leverage investments so that Nancy could live well once I was no longer walking alongside her. During all of this I never felt alone or abandoned. There was a very real sense that God’s Spirit was walking alongside me, even as I heard news I never wanted to hear.
I LIKE THE NEW ME
- Taking time for a lunch with Nancy is part of the “new normal”. Working to keep a schedule that is healthy and life giving is important.
- I am much more sensitive to the brevity of life and work much harder to live each moment to the fullest. There are times where I will think, right in the midst of a conversation or event, “you better make the most of this, you may never experience it again.”
- I have learned to pace myself. Cancer and Chemotherapy weakened my body to the point where I was unable to move like I have in the past. I was forced to learn how to pace my schedule. Naps are ok, even good. Weeks where I move from one thing to the next leave me drained and unable to sense and respond well to the Spirits leading. Cancer forced me to slow down, I am the better for it.
- “Can you help me” are not words I have spoken easily. I am not sure why. It has always been easier to simply take care of it (whatever it is) by myself. Cancer has forced me to ask for help.
- Perfection is no longer necessary. It is a goal, a good goal, but Cancer has helped me learn to live with good enough.
- I do not have to get it all done today. I have been forced to walk away from projects when they were not complete. To push through to completion would have done damage to my body, mind and spirit. The strange thing is the world did not collapse. In fact it often allowed an opportunity for someone else to help and serve alongside me.
- My compassion meter is a little bigger. I look at people I meet in the store or around town a little different these days. Through much of last year you would not have known I was going through chemo or fighting Cancer. It made me wonder what the people I saw everyday were struggling with. If they could not see my struggles, what was I missing about them?
- I like my tattoo! There is another one planned. Who knows if it will ever happen, but it could be fun.
- I am worried I will “forget” the lessons of this past year and slip back into old, familiar patterns of living and behaving. All too often I have watched as friends and family who learned important life lessons during times of struggle and hardship slowly forgot those lessons as life returned to a place of normalcy.
- I am worried my sense of urgency may be too urgent for those who have not had my experience. I find I am very clear on what I am willing to invest my time in these days. Some of the “games” we often fill time with no longer interest me. Time is short. Who knows what tomorrow holds. I want to invest whatever days God has remaining for me with a sense of urgency and energy that comes from understanding that time is short. Let’s make the most of what we have!
- I am excited about what will be. I have learned in a new and deeper way that God is Good All the Time. I am eager to see what Abba Father accomplishes in and through the remaining years of my life.
This past year has been a blessing. I have experienced God’s presence in a deeper and more life giving way than I have in a while. I have seen family and friends come alongside and pray for me as I journeyed through this struggle with Cancer. I have met a new community of friends and support at the Abramson Cancer Center. There were pieces and parts I could have done without. The truth is I would never have learned the deeper lessons without the struggle and difficulty. I am looking forward to whatever this next year holds.
God is Good All the Time… All the Time God is Good!