Tracks In The Dust

A Father's Advice About Learning the Mission of Life

Mortality is Not A Choice

decisionThe Cancer Letters #2

I grew up in a northern town in the Midwest US.  It was near Lake Michigan ( the largest fresh water lake in the US). During my childhood the US was growing up from the post-World War age. Moving into the modern age. But not quite there. The city had its share of blue-collar foundry’s and factories. There were churches in every neighborhood, small grocery stores,old-fashioned movie theaters,  and pre-war buildings that had already begun to show their wear.

We had large sandy beaches on the lake that we would go to every Sunday after church, and sit in the sun and listen to the transistor radios as they bellowed out the new rock-and-roll pop songs. There were pockets of ethnic ares in town, with their restaurants and tight-knit neighborhoods. There was the Lions Clubs and the YMCA. Town square and 4th of July parades. It was the time of the transition to the “space age” and also to the stark reality of a Vietnam War and all its injustice.

But those years were genuine, they were times to remember. Like so many others, growing up had many tremendous feelings of the taste of being young, but also yearning to get older. Older so that we could have a “life of our own” and be able to do what adults get to do- with all the freedom. My self and many of my friends always seemed to be in a hurry. And OH what we thought we knew. We saw ourselves as wise beyond our years.  Is that a feeling you have experienced?


As life has it, you can only look back to see what you thought you knew, but really didn’t. Perhaps the confidence of the young, perhaps just the blissful ignorance of youth. Either way. Facing mortality head on is a difficult thing. Even that reality is somewhat distorted, because after all we do it every day in our lives. Just stepping off the curb can be the last thing you do on Earth.

So now, in my life facing the reality of a cancer diagnosis and the clock that begins to tick toward an ultimate end, those days gone by seem so much more precious. And the time ahead does also. So many days in the past where I could have cherished them in such better ways, so many days where I could have looked at the positive things that God had provided me.  But you cannot relive the past, or should not spend each day ahead full of regret.  So  there is a choice to make. It is the same choice you have if you didn’t have a cancer diagnosis but it is a choice.

Choose Grace. Choose compassion. Choose to make a small difference every day in someone elses life.

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