We were at the Bishop museum on the island of Oahu with our kids and grandkids when the doctor called to tell me that the biopsy had come back positive for thyroid cancer. So, I spent the next thirty minutes or so just sitting under a kukui nut tree, feeling the wind, looking at the Honolulu skyline, and talking with the Lord; trying to give all my worries, concerns, and burdens about the matter over to Him. My whole world seemed to have changed.
No sooner had I returned to the museum, looking for my family, than my phone rang again. This time, it was a dear friend calling from California to tell me that a wonderful young man, Tim, whom we all loved, had just been killed in a tragic car accident. He was only 23 years old. His precious young wife, Alisa, had been hurt, too, but she was going to be okay, physically; though totally heartbroken at her incredible loss. I found myself sitting in the same spot, under that same kukui nut tree, within that same hour, feeling the same wind, facing the same Honolulu skyline, and talking with my Lord. Only, now, the whole world had changed, yet again.
Here I was, already contemplating how much time I “might” have left to me here on planet earth, which might be weeks, months, years, or even decades still—who knows— while my wonderful young friend, less than half my age, had already had his life on earth snuffed out in an instant. Just a few weeks ago he and I had been snorkeling, body-boarding, and playing tennis together. Now, he was gone; and I’m still here. Huh! Talk about putting the whole matter into perspective – wow!
I am an ordained Christian minister. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve preached about living life one day at a time, and living each day as if it were our last because, perhaps, it could be. After 30 years of ministry, I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve ministered to grieving parents and families and conducted funeral services for children and young people who were just a fraction of my age.
Contemplating all of that makes me feel so selfish and petty. What right do I have to indulge myself with worry, anxiety, or fear of what “might” happen to me–just because, now, I’m the one diagnosed with cancer–after preaching so boldly and after seeing so many young people depart this world; especially when I’ve been blessed to live many times their number of years on this earth. Lord, I’m trying to be brave here, and I repent of my selfishness! Please grant me “boldness” in living each day, however many of them there are left to me, with the faith, hope, and love that should characterize one who belongs to You!!!