A Matter of Life and Death

I have a friend named John who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. His doctors have advised him that, short of a miracle, the cancer cells they are working so hard to suppress will no longer respond to treatment.

When I first learned about John’s illness, I was incredibly sad.  He’s so young, just 40 years old.  He and his wife have four kids.  He’s the pastor of a growing church that he planted just a few years ago. It all seems so completely unfair to me.  

While I still find John’s situation heartbreaking on many levels, there is also something beautiful about it. The way he has chosen to embrace life and appreciate each day is nothing short of inspiring.  He is saying the things that need to be said, doing the things that need to be done and loving the people around him the way they need to be loved. He has gone on two “bucket list” (his words) trips, one with his family and the other with his wife and several other couples.  He is living every day as if it could be his last.

I still ache for John and his family. I surely would not volunteer to be in the same situation; but, his journey has inspired me think about how I would live if I were. The truth is, we are all going to die.  We are all facing a terminal diagnosis. Unlike John, most of us don’t have to think about this reality very often. So many of us are alive, but not really living. We take our days and the people who surround us for granted, in complete denial of the fact that our time here is short, and so is theirs.

Today, right now, let’s choose to live more like my friend John. To appreciate each day, knowing tomorrow is not guaranteed. To be courageous and say the things that need to be said, do the things that need to be done and love the people who need to be loved.  And, let’s inspire others who observe our journey to do the same.

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