The current series at our church is based on the book One Month to Live, Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life written by Kerry & Chris Shook of Fellowship of The Woodlands near Houston, Texas. I confess I haven’t kept up with my reading, but the title resonates with me because, well, I’ve kind of been there.
Okay. So that’s me being dramatic. I was never told my life was over because I had cancer. Life as I knew it is over – or drastically different – because of the cancer, but I’m among the healthy and living and plan to be for a very, very long time. I still have another 50+ years to hang out with Todd and future grandchildren and great grandchildren to spoil. So while I can’t imagine what it would be like to know I only have a set time left on this earth, I know first hand what it’s like to be faced with my own mortality.
I never thought of my breast cancer as a death sentence. My brain just doesn’t work that way. But it’s not because I’m afraid of dying. I know who I belong to and I know where I’m going when I do pass from this place and it’s better than anything I can imagine. And I’ve got a really good imagination!
In those low moments, however, when I stopped to really think about what I was dealing with and the realization that I had no guarantee, I was sad. Again, not sad to meet up with friends and family who had gone before me and see Jesus face to face – what an incredible thought! My sadness was at the thought of breaking the hearts of the people I love the most and how it would affect the lives of my children.
People talk a lot about how a brush with death changes their perspective and I can see how that’s so. I don’t think my perspective ever changed, though. I don’t love Todd and the kids any more than I did before my diagnosis. How could I when I’ve always thought them the most precious gifts I’ve ever been given? I don’t see any more beauty around me than I had before. My world has ever been full of the most incredible sights and sounds and tastes and smells and textures. Appreciation for God’s handiwork is nothing new to me and, in fact, is something I’ve had in me since I was very young.
There were times I would wonder, “if I don’t beat this thing will I have any regrets in my relationships?” I always came back to “no”. My family knows I love them, there are no unspoken words between us. I don’t have any broken relationships or anyone I feel the need to forgive (that’s a post for another day). Who knows, though. There may be someone reading this who thinks otherwise. But as far as I’m concerned that aspect of my life is okay.
Still, one can’t go through something like a life threatening disease and not change in some aspect. There are plenty of negative changes – physically, mentally, emotionally… I could probably write reams on the unpleasant changes. Oh wait! I think I pretty much have over the last year and a half. But there are usually positive changes, too.
I’ve narrowed my life goals and actually feel as though I maybe have a real purpose beyond raising my kids and providing comic relief when things get too somber. And I think that’s what the book and it’s companion study will be pointing to. Living your life for God and following His will for your life with passion.
That’s exactly what I want to do. Run down that path with reckless abandon. Except for the fact I can’t run. Just thinking about it makes me tired. Unless there’s a Venti White Chocolate Mocha with Whip at the end. Then I could probably at least skip.
Give me a year or so and we’ll see where I am then. Hopefully I won’t be sitting at the same place, still writing my list of goals. I want to be checking them off, baby!!