I read an article back in March 2005 that had the words of the title of this article in it. I picked it up at the Cancer Center at Beaumont Hospital, in Detroit Michigan. It was a heartfelt story of a woman who had lost her breasts to Breast Cancer. The story went on to talk about Melissa Etheridge and of her deliberate boldness at the 2005 Grammy’s, when she came out with a bald head, after her cancer treatments, as if proudly displaying it as her “gift” of life. The story went on to talk about women who in desperation for survival had in some ways traded their beauty for life.
I related to the story, being a breast cancer survivor myself. But, what truly touched me about that article was the woman in the story talking about how when her outer beauty had faded away, and during treatments, she was “left with spirit, raw and powerful and hanging on with claws, daring her to live.”
What a concept. Have you ever been dared to live? Tim McGraw has an old song titled “Live like you were dying,” about a man, who seemingly is given a certain number of years or months to live due to some type of fatal disease. In the song when asked what he was to do about this news, he replied with, “skydiving,” “mountain climbing,” and a wish to all of his friends to one day know what it feels like to “live like you were dying.”
I remember what it felt like going through my cancer treatments. I remember the ugliness of my body and the forced humbleness of a deep seeded pride. I recall wondering if I would live through it, the pain, the blisters and stress. Looking back, I realize, I “lived” every day. I lived more then each day then I sometimes do now. Why is it that we have to be faced with something tragic to appreciate LIFE? What is it in our human-ess that makes us forget the grace and mercy of God and the power of prayer until we are brought to our knees at a crucial point in our life and MADE to remember? Funny, how God sometimes has a way of reminding us of the fragility of life. I believe He does this just so that we DO remember.
I recently was reminded again last week when another lump was found after almost two years of “survival.” I’m a prayerful, faithful woman, but I found myself even MORE prayerful. I found more time to enjoy my days, to kiss my kids and tell my husband I loved him. I also found a lot more time for God. Hmmm, makes me wonder why. But isn’t life funny that way? We move along forgetting that our time is short, our days are numbered, our fate is destined and we truly have no idea when Gods hand will reach down and pluck us from our busy, appointment filled, carpooling, grocery shopping, house cleaning, business building days. These precious days that we can’t seem to find time to get on our knees and give thanks because we don’t have the time. Why, because our lives are just too full. Too full. I want you to remember that last statement. Life IS full. Praise God our lives are filled! Live every single day of it!
We have one month, one day a year to get our families together to gather in praise and thanksgiving. A National Holiday will do that for most of us. But how about not waiting for that Thanksgiving Holiday or that crucial moment of unknown fate.
When you find yourself on your knees at times like these, stay there. We could all stand to kneel a little longer. My hope is that this year we remember Gods graces and appreciate our lives and everything in them because God is good! Something as simple as feeling your pulse each morning is proof of that. Keep on remembering. While you’re at it, remember those full days when your inbox is so full that you can barely find time to breathe? Those are the days to be grateful for. Those are the days to get on your knees in praise because when your “in-box” is empty, you’re dead.
By the way that lump in my breast? Nothing but a small cyst. Cancer Free another day! Praise the heavens for this and every day. I intend to fully live ALL of mine. How about you?