Thursday, June 12, 2014

If today where your last ...?

"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." -James 4:14

When my wife Lisa and I received her original cancer diagnosis we did what came natural.  Understanding we would get both qualified and unqualified opinions, we got on the web and researched all the information we could find on her particular diagnosed cancer type (we found out later this is not necessarily the best thing to do).  It is a sobering experience reading treatment options and corresponding mortality rates.  Even though we attempted to practice, to the best of our ability, the wise suggestion to take "every negative thought captive" (that would included mortality rate statistics), there were moments when the reality of life's  mist nature hit home. 

"I may not be here for Shelbee's graduation." 
Tears filled my eyes as I listened to my wife speak these words and then watched her silently and somberly consider the words she had just spoken.  We were on our way to another doctor appointment and the seriousness of our situation was particularly heavy.  After a moment, we acknowledge the possibility, captured it (gave it to the Lord in prayer) and went on to another topic. 

To be clear, my wife was not expressing a lack of faith or focusing on morbid outcomes, she was articulating a reality we have faced many times in our marriage and ministry together.
Life is a gift of unpredictable length.  Therefore, the most should be made of every day! 

Truth:  One's unavoidable future reality (death) has incredible power to impact one's present reality. 

Whether young or old, ask yourself this question, "If today where your last day, what would you do?"
Would you...
  • ...spend all day with family and friends?
  • ...share those words?
  • ...have that conversation? 
  • ...ask for or offer forgiveness?
  • ...get your life right with the God?
Reach down and feel for a pulse.  

Do you have one?  Good. 

Now, let your future reality impact your present reality!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Cancer/No Cancer Experience: Lesson #1

The first time I had to "pull" a book back so I could read the words on the page created an interesting reaction  (for younger blog readers, it is rather humbling experience).  The blurred reading episode  shouted, "you are getting older and your existence will require assistance and will be different from this point on!"

Our journey with Cancer/Not Cancer was one of those "pull" back experiences that shouted "Life requires assistance and will be different from this point on."  In the next few blogs, I will attempt to share each of the "pull" back occasions in order to highlight a few that may impact your journey through life as well.

"Even if you don't need anything, let people do something for you and your family" were the words spoken by a dear friend (whose wife is a cancer survivor) at the beginning of our journey.   Even though, like most, we are more comfortable being on the helping others end, Lisa and I have been appreciative of the support and comfort we have received from friends and family.  Even so, we were not prepared for the level of extravagance poured out on our family.

We received gifts of
...prayer cards cleaning
...visits support
...kid taxi
...medical consult
...advice on treatment 
...tweets calls
...again, a lot of prayer

Our existence indeed required assistance from others. We are so thankful and blown away by the overwhelming amount of support received over the last few weeks. 

Extravagance is the word Lisa and I use to describe our experience of gift receiving.  And the recieving left us with two, won't go away, questions and one resolution that has impacted and continues to impact the future direction of our family.

Question#1Are we living a fiscally responsible lifestyle that supports extravagant giving? Yes, we can and will continue to give our tithe, our resources and time, but the key word here is extravagant.  We are wanting to keep our giving to receiving ratio in balance.  We want any imbalance to be on the giving side.

Question #2:  Are we living a fiscally responsible lifestyle that supports extravagant moments with family? We take vacations and have family time, but there were moments in our "pull" back that I really wanted to pack up the family and "refresh" for a day or two.  However, our financial responsibilities have a lot of our money committed before it is spent (I realize many of you reading this often find themselves in the same boat).  I did not like that feeling. 

Resolution:  We will explore and courageously make fiscal responsibilities adjustments in order to give and live extravagantly

After the "pull" back book moment, I went to the eye doctor expecting to get a prescription for contacts/glasses.  What I received was a "reader" prescription (actually, my doctor told me to go to a pharmacy and pick up a few pairs to throw around the home and office). I was ready for a full blown contact/glasses prescription to find I only needed "readers."  My existence with the assistance of readers gives me the ability to read books without the "pull" back and it is awesome! 

I have no idea, at this point, what level of correction to our fiscal vision these questions and our resolution will call for.   Regardless, we know something will be different.  We are seeing things real clear these days.