The thing about cancer is when you hear that word used as something inside of you, your brain slows down as if processing at a very slow rate. The feeling is an odd one. We see it on television shows all the time and we secretly hope that the moment never happens to us. When I was first told about the tumours, my family doctor said they appeared to be benign. I breathed a sigh of relief even though I could tell she was still stressed about something. She immediately did a complete physical on me. When we met again after the results of a CT scan, the news had changed. The diagnosis did seem to now lean towards cancer. The liver specialist was even more adamant that the diagnosis was malignant.
I have been blessed as I have said many times that I have never felt alone in the process. I have had lots of folks clamouring and rallying around me from the beginning, including my lovely family doctor who was new to me. A few late nights when I cannot sleep or the odd day when I feel overly fatigued, I have wished for a person to be present, but I have always known that I could call a select few friends who have volunteered day or night to be there for me. I have not had to cash that card in thus far.
Today I was invited to the Never Alone fundraiser luncheon where Milt Stegall spoke. You can find out more about the Never Alone Foundation here – http://www.neveralonefoundation.ca/ Milt, a former Blue Bomber, spoke mostly of service. The legacy of our lives is to serve–which is, of course, the Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises. We are created to praise, reverence and serve God. When all is said and done have you spent your life for the greater good? Milt used many quotes during his 15-minute speech but two interested me.
Don’t talk about it, be about it. Our good deeds are not meant to be talked about. The right hand and left should not know what the other does. Scatter goodness and kindness everywhere and then do not look to see where the seeds blow. Just be about being good and kind. No thanks are necessary for the most part. The other meaning is that we can waste a lot of energy in the talk but never get to the walk. Spend less time dreaming and talking about the plans you have for creating a life of service and just get to it. Be about it. Be kindness. Be goodness. Spread it wherever you go.
Secondly, Milt said, Every day is not perfect, but every day has a purpose. God does not need us to be perfect to serve. Find your purpose in life and be about it. I agree that service would be the driving force of any life–the perfect purpose of a live well executed. You can serve your children, your spouse, your community, your church folks, and complete strangers. I am reminded of Martin Luther King Jr’s thoughts on service:
Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
Perfection is not needed, but rather a heart and soul generated by love. We do not know how many days we will be on this earth. If we did, maybe we might make different choices. Milt thought so. I would not wait to scatter the good seeds and to plant legacies of joy, hope and peace. Your time on earth should be used to create a beautiful life, clothed in humility and joy, built on a foundation of service. No one should feel alone, either with a cancer diagnosis or in any other form of stress. If you can reach out to a person and let them know that life is amazing and so worth living well, then do so. Make a difference to someone and change the world one person at a time.
Have you ever felt alone when facing a difficult situation?
What acts of service bring life to you?
We are never alone
because you are always there,
You have been here before
ahead of us, preparing;
You will be here with us,
comforting and protecting;
You will be here after us
cleansing, purifying and acknowledging.
Ever Present God, thank you.