All of us are effected by cancer, whether by personal experience with it, or by a friend or loved one who’s been through it. The more I speak to or hear from victims of cancer, the more I’m convinced that cancer is not a matter of death, but a matter of life. Those who suffer with it find more meaning in life, more gratitude for life, and more love of life.
One of my duties at my job is to record speeches held, and in this one, a man with a severe case of cancer was invited to speak. The man is a friend of mine, and I was deeply touched by his words. I pray for him and his family, and I thank him for this beautiful life perspective he offered on this occasion.
I think I’ll call my audio blog entries Passing Thoughts, just because the word AudioBlog sounds blah. This time a share some passing thoughts on fulfilling dreams and bucket lists.
This is one of those videos that just makes you want to keep going…
Life and love really can and should be forever.
I’ve mentioned my aspirations to write a Childrens book or two – well, here’s another go at it. This one would portray a small child talking with a very old man named Mr. Johnson. Thanks to Ezioman on flickr for the borrowed photo!
“Mr. Johnson, I declare, haven’t you got any hair?”
“I’ve thought hard, my little scout, thought till all my hair fell out!”
“Why then are your eye’s so crinkly, why is your whole face all wrinkly?”
“Skin can slowly fold in half, each time I smile or start to laugh!”
“You don’t walk, you only hobble, when you try you start to wobble!”
“You can see all things are holy, when you try to walk more slowly.”
“Why then do your poor ears ring, so you can hardly hear a thing?”
“Greater voices that I hear, speak from the heart, not through the ear.”
“Even when you look at me, your eyes are much too dim to see.”
“The greatest things will always be, the things we do not hear or see!”
“Mr. Johnson, please reply, are you so old that you will die?”
“My child, my child, I think I might,
but everything will be alright.
Little one, come close and hear,
for death is not a thing to fear.
There came one once who made a way
so all will live again someday.
‘Follow me, and live’ He said,
and He Himself rose from the dead.
He taught us how to love and give,
he showed a better way to live.
And if we do the things we ought,
and live to follow as he taught,
then when our death comes beckoning,
our death will be a joyful thing!”
“Mr. Johnson, I don’t know, I will miss you if you go!”
“Yes, my child, I’ll miss you too, but I will still watch over you,
and when you come to join me then, we’ll be together once again!”
For family home evening tonight we watched a movie called, “Return with Honor,” about a young guy who gets in a terrible car accident, and has a near death experience where he is asked what he has yet to accomplish in his life. He gives his response and he is told that he has sixty days.
It got me thinking. What would I do with my life if I knew I only had sixty days to live? Obviously I would wish to be able to raise my kids and take care of my wife, but if I knew that wasn’t an option, and I only had sixty days left, what would I do with it?
I was listening to an advice call-in program on the radio one day, and I don’t remember what the caller was asking advice on, but the advice given was interesting. “Your doctor just called you and said you have six months of life left, and not a day more. I’m not saying this just to make you think about it, I want you to decide what you need to do in that six months, and then YOU DO IT! Six months. That’s all you get. What ever you would do if you only had six months to live, do it.”
So, what would you do? What would you stop doing? What would you change? Who would you visit?
Think about that – whether sixty days or six months, whatever you would do in that time if you knew you were going to die, do it.
Homecoming is one of the piano solo pieces from my Dayspring CD.
How comforting the light of the gospel is in the face of something as shocking as death! Testimony, born of faith, adds a spiritual element to the otherwise abstract complexities of life.
That testimony is a real and powerful confidence that becomes indisputable in the heart of those that embrace it, and it is a real and life-sustaining thing. This mortal life is but a moment. After death we continue life as we had previously known it, before it was crudely interrupted by this frightening but essential phase of existence.
To those with such faith, death is not a thing to be feared at all. In fact, death is more of a reunion than a separation. The partings that come with death are only very temporary, and when all is said and done, this mortal life will seem to have been but a passing moment.
I have a photograph that I like to get out and look at once in a while. It is of my older brother’s missionary homecoming. He is only seconds off the airplane from his mission to Brazil, in a tight embrace with Mom and Dad. Their faces are full of excitement, joy, and love.
That picture has a lot of meaning for me. I took it on my own full-time mission, and it reminded me that I must serve my mission honorably, so that when I return, I will have such a moment.
It also reminds me of another homecoming that I will someday experience.
The thought of leaving this life and rushing into the arms of my Heavenly Parents sometimes fills me with so much hope, and so much anticipation, that I have to remind myself that I still have much to do before I can qualify for such a reunion.
Perhaps it is the fear of the unknown that frightens us about death. We thrive so much on regularity and tradition that even a minor change from the ordinary can throw us completely off balance. Adventurous as we may occasionally feel, it seems that few of us feel ready to step beyond the comfort-zone of mortality into the surreal and unknown mystery we call death. Even the most courageous people can’t deny that there is a bit of apprehension that accompanies impending death. Perhaps to some, it is like lying down to sleep, knowing that whatever dream first enters their mind will be their new permanent reality.
But again, this is where faith plays such an essential role in our lives. Life as we know it has the greatest opportunity for growth, experience, and learning. It also allows us glimpses of the joy that will be available in the eternities. Such glimpses give us hope for the fullness of joy that will be awaiting the righteous in the life to come.