Tracks In The Dust

A Father's Advice About Learning the Mission of Life

Archive for the tag “Cancer”

Facing Your Fear Through Faith

Faith.

It’s easy to give-in to the pressure of the people and things that are happening around you. We have a tendency to reach for our own personal courage and convictions to help defend ourselves from those things that seem to attack our sensibilities.

Sign of Faith

Defending the purpose of our day and the reason for our existence ends up being something that takes a lot of effort and seems to be an unending lifelong job.

It’s a wonder we don’t just give-in to those things that create personal fears and doubts. But we have something that is much stronger than our personal resolve, something that is the shield that helps to make each day what God intended it to be. We can stand firm in our faith and not let personal fear and doubts chip away what God has asked of us.

There will be numerous attacks on our faith. There will be numerous reasons put into our path to convince us to step aside from the strength God provides. Often we can forget what makes us strong, and try to overcome things ourselves.

We tend to believe our strength is ours alone, and then when things aren’t going the way we plan- we give into the fear that waits inside us and we ignore the place of real strength. As a personal cancer warrior I battle that every day of my life.

So there is one answer. Put it all in your faith in Him. Make sure you are consciously aware of the strength it provides;be sure to use your faith and confidence your faith to make yourself stronger each day of your life.

Count on that faith to make the decisions you need to make. Count on the courage that it provides when things aren’t going the way you think it should – because trusting in Him will make the difference. Looking at your life through God  will allow you to “be on your guard”.

I had posted this on another blog of mine, but it seems to ring true every day of my life. How about your life?

It’s something to work on daily. It is practice in our faith that will make us strong. Standing firm on what that will provide the courage we need to face our fears and doubts.

All Things Must Pass

All Things Must Pass

All Things Must Pass

More frequently these days I recall how precious life is. It is very fragile. We have our chance to look at life from many ways. But in the end it all will pass.  That’s why I share this song from the late George Harrison.  It has always been one of those songs that captures the spirituality of the passing of time. 

Sunrise doesn’t last all morning
A cloudburst doesn’t  last all day
Seems my love is up and has left you with no warning
Its not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away

Sunset doesn’t last all evening
A mind can blow those clouds away
After all this, my love is up and must be leaving
Its not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away
All things must pass
None of lifes strings can last
So, I must be on my way
And face another day

Now the darkness only stays the night-time
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good at arriving at the right time
Its not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away
All things must pass
All things must pass away

A VIDEO FROM VH1 – George Harrison’s last live performance before his death.

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?

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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.

Introducing The Cancer Letters

Prostate Cancer

Sharing my story with my kids (and anyone who will read it)  I will be writing:
The Cancer Letters
Cancer Letter #1

When  I was much younger I remember that feeling of being so invincible. I mean I had my share of childhood illnesses, some afflictions that made its way through grade school years. But overall the thought of succumbing to more treacherous illness or terminal  disease was reserved for older people, adults that had “complications” because of their age or the way they lived put them in harm’s way.

Then in middle school I was friends with a girl named “Patty” who our teacher announced one day had Leukemia  She was out of school for a while and then actually came back to class. She even went on the class trip to Washington DC. I got to know her and spent hours on the bus ride on our school trip talking with her about many things and about nothing at all. She was a very insightful person. Weeks after we got back from our trip she stopped coming to class. It wasn’t too many weeks later after that she died.

I spent months not clear on what it was that God would do to take someone like her so young and leave the rest of us to feel empty about her not being in our lives anymore.  I think I played Bob Dylan  and Joni Mitchell music for hours on end and created angry artwork (I guess it might have seemed very Bohemian at the time).

So as I grew older and got married, my wife and I had children. And of course as parents we have spent our time worrying about them as they head out the door every day for school. Now  as they are out of school and growing into adulthood, we still worry about them. Admittedly we still watch for those things that could indicate more serious issues, we still take a moment when we see them to tell them that we love them.

It was over 20 years ago when my parents passed from this earth to a better place (more about that later). Both of them were in their 70’s and had me when they were much older. But they still would care immensely about my health and safety. In fact when I got older and married, I used to cringe some when I would see them and my mom would dote over me. After all I was a parent myself. I miss that now.

Years went by- living with all of the ups and downs, and then came the day when the Doctor decided that “further tests” were needed. That was the beginning of a life changing event that shook my world, my wife’s world and my family’s world.

To share my story with my kids (and anyone who will read it, I will be writing more of  The  Cancer Letters.

Every Begining Has An End

At the other end of something that begins is always the finish. Some ends come quicker than others, while some seem to go on for a long time. But either way the start has an end. ♥ The fact that I am positive of it- itself is comforting.

Before I knew I had cancer I was feeling invincable, that I had my own destiny totally under my control. God willing old age would finally get me like many of my ancestors before me, but I would have all the time to watch my children grow up and be what they chose to be. I would have time to sit on the beach with my wife &  lover of decades so many that we would have stopped counting. I would be at peace because life was full, through all the ups and downs it would present in its eventual path to the end. Before cancer came, my lover and I had pictured of our traveling the country care-free. making stops along the way to take in the goodness of humankind as God planned it. 

In the days before, there were indeed some days it would be easy to take things for granted, not stopping to make eye contact with life itself – too busy to invest the time to share words of kindness or a silent smile.  Anger was something to hold on to, and happiness was something to have to go find. Regrets would be about trival things that didn’t even matter to anyone but me.  

After cancer, our life together changed forever (that is a strange term since this life is not a forever thing). The battle is on, but the invader is without mercy. No voluntary retreat, no sympathy for time. The picture changes and the reasons for living become clearer with sharper edges. Each day becomes more precious, every interaction with life and the things around it more detailed. There is a willingnesss for  investment in the “now’ that you want to share with everyone you can. Even still- although it seems that there is a plan, it is needed to be careful  for the cold-darkness that can creep in. Even still- thankful for another day, thankful for the opportunity to embrace the things that matter most, but knowing there is the feeling of being tied to an ending. Theres that feeling of doubt (not fear) of how it will be for the fight in the end. 

Still after all I am grateful for each day God gives me. Making sure along the way that I can pay it back while I am here on Earth. Each day as we move from place to place, we can make a difference in someone’s life that may last their lifetime.

I am a fan of many movies about traveling time and how it effects something that will change everything after it. From It’s A Wonderful Life to Butterfly Effect. But this is not just a fantasy, it is a real thing. Each of us can do it and put our existance on Earth in motion for years after we are gone from it. Making a difference that is more than tracks in the dust. It is a decision to live life and also to embrace eternity when it is over. The begining… has an end. But then all of us knew that all along. It is so easy to forget – until that day the when something shows you your plans have changed.

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