Saturday, September 18, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

The show must go on

I’ve set my channel to survivor; my inner station. At least I’ve tried hard to always be tuned in to that channel. Every day is a different day, with new challenges, and more hills to climb. As the days are getting longer, they are also getting harder. The side effects of chemotherapy have really compounded getting more difficult with each time. But the show must go on!

Most everyone has experienced a major motion picture, a tv drama, documentary, or even book that really touched them. You know the kind? The ones that bring tears to your eyes. The kind that will leave you wanting to better yourself, or change the world. The type of production that simply moves you. I too have been touched watching films about people who triumph through their personal struggles; overcoming obstacles at great lengths. I enjoy hearing about those who paved the way for justice. There are so many examples of ordinary people who have lead remarkable and extraordinary lives no matter their trial. Many are still with us today. But great majorities are gone. Nobody is exempt from mortality.

None of us have a soundtrack to our daily living, wardrobe allowances, or producers who will make sure we get everything near flawless and look perfect. We don’t get unlimited retakes on what we say or do. We live in the now. We do our best. And most of us will never have a movie portrayed on the big-screen about our lives. We will share our triumphs with our loved ones and with those very same individuals we will look for encouragement during our dark, lonely, or hard times. We'll have friends not fans.

A motion picture might take a few years to complete full production. In life, it will take most parents and caregiver’s years to help teach, guide, and love their children. At least that is the hope for every child and for every home. There are also others who play a big role in the life of one person: school teachers, neighbors, friends, church leaders, coaches, employers, and mentors. We should always be building and never squashing a person or their dreams and ideas. We must believe in those people that have been led to us; carefully instilling confidence, love, trust, and those things that will help them...for we all will face trials and need to have learned some survivor skills.

I have recently asked myself, “What do I believe in, and who do I look up to?” I think when we are going through the very hardest times in our lives we start pondering deeper thoughts about ourselves and the strong beliefs that we have held. I know that I have had moments of great strength through this. I have also had many weak moments when I felt I could not go on.

So how much have I changed? Cancer has found me twice in my life now. I didn’t go looking for it, but I know that I can’t hide from it either. I am the lone member of my immediate family (including Grandparents) to have had cancer. I was not told or shown how to live my life this year. Ultimately, I still have to make my own choices, and decide how I will react. If I have changed it would be my perspective and outlook on life, compassion, and patience for others. These are the things you would hope a person with cancer would learn to understand. These are also things those of us without cancer should be striving to learn and to understand. But as far as changing goes, I do think I am still...just me.

Some of these are ongoing questions and we think about them every now and then. But for some of us currently facing what could be the toughest trial we will ever face, those thoughts and questions become almost sacred.

Who do I look up to? My list might seem simple and may not come straight from Hollywood or Nashville. I look up to my parents and my family. They each have unique strengths. It is important to always find value in the positive things in life. I have the most supportive parents a person could find. My brothers are fun and loving and I have a sister that I just couldn't do without. I look up to several friends. I won’t name any specifically, but I have truly been blessed beyond measure in my life to encounter some of the greatest individuals I know. I fully expect to see great things out of them. There are also many friends who are more reserved and quietly stay behind the scenes getting the job done. The thing they don’t realize is that there are people watching. I have watched with great respect over the years some very kind things. I am humbled and grateful for those wishing to serve me at this time in my life. My Grandparents are currently 88 and 90 years old. They are still some of the kindest, hospitable, and good-natured people I know. I’ve learned a great deal from them. I could go on and on about church leaders, teachers, and neighbors, but I will just stop with God. Looking to God in uncertain times, and asking God through prayer for sustenance, will give comfort and peace to your soul. I know because it has mine. It has helped me over the many years of my life to believe in the one person that we need to the most; ourselves.

Now go! Do. Mentor. Be. Help. Lift. Give. Work. Comfort... Meditate on what you believe. In the time it takes to watch a film you should have a good idea, or at least a good start. The dishes will not miss you when you have succumbed to mortality. However, a great many others will. Think on it. Here are a few to get you started. What things do you believe in, and who do you look up to? What things have changed you?

Knowing who you are should be a personal quest. After finding out who you really are, then you can set some meaningful goals. There are things I’ve been working on lately because I know well enough that I could be around another 10 years, or perhaps 30 or more years. Nobody knows. But the show must go on. Make it a good one. (I didn’t say flawless, I just meant meaningful)

Keep the survivor station powered on, and those that believe in YOU...keep them close by. We are here for one another. We are not alone. And isn't that great?