Making long term plans these days is something of a luxury.
While I am convinced that I will recover from this nasty little beastie called cancer, between here and there are so many uncertainties. It makes thinking ahead hard.
But I still do.
I’m making plans for all sorts of things. Holidays, music and film projects, buying a house of our own, having more children…. the kind of things you dream about when you don’t have to think about whether or not you’re going to die.
But as weird as it might seem, having cancer hanging over my head is something of a blessing. Why? Because I have the opportunity to learn very important things while I still have the chance to implement them and see the results enrich my life and the lives of those around me. I’m learning lessons now that most people only discover on their death bed…. and by then it’s too late.
I am incredibly fortunate.
Cancer reminds me daily that my time on this earth is not, in fact, a given and as a result I need to live like that is indeed the case.
I see things differently than I used to. My physical memory is pretty much a wasteland thanks to the chemotherapy but my heart’s memory is in the best shape of my life. While I often forget day to day things (much to the frustration of my wife), I am constantly remembering things that are far less tangible.
I remember that I need to keep short accounts with people because one day I may have a harsh word to say to someone and then never have the chance to apologise.
I remember that I need to be… want to be…. a man of honour and integrity. Compassionate and generous. Because if I become a memory in the lives of those that I love then I want it to be a memory they cherish.
I remember that the pursuits of this world… fame, fortune, power, position, “success” (whatever that is)… are not at all important. They’re just not.
And most importantly, I remember that I need to tell Rachel, Cody and Jakob every day that I love them. Not just tell them but show them, so that if I do have to go they will know that I really did think the world of them and that leaving them is the single biggest heartbreak I could ever imagine.
People talk of lives touched by cancer. My life wasn’t “touched”… it was assaulted. I’m being held up at gun point…. and I’m pissed about it too. But I will never let cancer see fear or intimidation in my eyes. The harder it fights me, the harder I fight back. I have everything to lose and that fact alone makes me incredibly dangerous. So many times people associate cancer with death and while that is the case for many people, it is not the case here. Cancer is most definitely inconvenient. It is most definitely an intrusion into our lives. It is something I would not wish on my worst enemy but while it is here there are good things that can be taken from it.
Genesis 50:20 (The Message) says this:
“…Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people.”
I have an opportunity in front of me that most people rarely get. I have the opportunity to reclaim life from a place where there is usually death.
That makes me one of the luckiest people on the planet.