It’s not about you! Those are the first four words from a great book, Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Hmm. When I feel the pain caused by my cancer and the incremental chemo-induced pain & discomfort, I am led to ask, if not me, then who is this all about? I figured it out, but it took a while.
When the bomb dropped, and we learned I had cancer, I was stunned. It was election day, Tuesday, November 3rd, and my fourth day in the hospital. Instantly, my priorities changed. After months of actively following and being consumed by the election, suddenly I was unable to focus on anything but my situation.
Remarkably, in my most intimate thoughts and prayers, I found a strong feeling of gratitude…as if I had just received a gift. As the days passed and we learned more about the severity of my situation, I was overcome with a feeling of acceptance. I knew that this is God’s will. I believe He gave me this on purpose --- and expects me to purposefully use this situation to honor Him. The question I now faced was, how do I do that?
Little by little, it made more sense. I always knew that everyone’s true and complete purpose in life is to know, love, and serve Him. I already had established a daily practice of getting to know and to love Him. My task now, more than ever, is to serve Him. To me, that meant doing what Jesus would do if he were in my shoes (or sandals).
My immediate future would involve chemotherapy and palliative care. Even though the effects of cancer and side-effects of chemo would make the road ahead pretty bumpy, there would be ample time to serve Him by sharing my faith journey on this blog, and by creating “holy moments” by being a better version of myself to everyone whose life I might touch going forward.
Confined to home, I read and write and use some of the few and patchy “good hours” to engage in philanthropic efforts for the Santiago Retreat Center. I’m able to help our diocese by helping this center provide youth and young adults a place where they can escape their fast-paced, high-pressure lives of city living, and receive spiritual nurturing in a beautiful, natural surrounding…away from cell phones, televisions, the internet, and a myriad of life’s other distractions. I am so thankful for this opportunity to serve Him by doing this important work.
Rick Warren opened Purpose Driven Life with a profound conviction. Disney™/Pixar™ closed their most recent film Soul with something just as profound. When given a second chance at living, the main character, Joe, is asked, “What do you think you will do? How will you spend your life?” He responds, “I don’t know…but I do know I am going to live every minute of it.”
What a great combination…to live every minute as a gift; and to live those moments with purpose (and filled with love).