Messages of Mortality

When the cancer diagnosis came, it quickly shifted my priorities.  Over the past few days I’ve asked myself two questions, “What’s really important?” and “What’s not important?”  I’ve come up with some answers, and I’m sure more will be added to each column.

My faith in my God and Savior, Jesus Christ, is at the top of the list.  Right after the phone call from the doctor, informing me that cancer was found in the prostate, I said to Martha, “Well, this doesn’t come as a shock to God!”  And I meant it.  Divine love always walks ahead of those who trust, and my life has been a testimony to that truth, even during times of doubt.

Creation is another manifestation of God’s presence, and I’ve decided to spend a lot of time outdoors.  Even more traveling to places of beauty, like Hawaii.  My bucket list is taking shape in my mind, and will soon be on paper.  I want to see more sunsets, mountains, rivers, oceans, and wildlife.  Maybe I just want to be a kid again!  The majesty of nature has always seemed to me like a glimpse of the Glory to come.

My family is also a priority.  Quite honestly, I haven’t given enough time and energy to the people I love most. My wife, children, grandchildren, brothers, cousins, and many others.  Family reunions mean more to me than ever, and our Memorial Day gathering in Pennsylvania was deeply rewarding. We’ve lost some precious souls in recent years, a reminder to share love while we still can.

And then there are my friends, my First Page People.  Some of them I’ve known since high school, others from the Marine Corps and the churches I’ve served.  Many are veterans, some are Happy Hour buddies.  Some are Christians, others are not.  But I’ve heard from every one of them since my diagnosis was announced, and all of them are praying.  What a great comfort!

Those are some of the items that I’ll focus on in the near future.  As I glance at the above, I notice that these are all relationships, not inanimate objects! That’s a lesson in itself.

So what’s not as significant to me right now?  Let’s start with arguments over political and religious differences.  How foolish!  And I’ve been as guilty as anyone in this category.  I’m learning that life is too short to waste it on discussions that never change anyone’s mind and never accomplish anything positive.  These verbal conflicts raise blood pressure, create ulcers, damage mental and spiritual health, and leave wounds that never heal. So I’m prayerfully trying to tone it down, especially on the social media.

What else seems less vital to me these days? Possessions (including books!), being noticed in a crowd, being considered important in the public eye, and fretting over matters that almost always resolve themselves, with or without my interference.  Trying to change people and mold them into what I desire seems much less attractive, and I’m going to love them just as they are and let God do the adjusting!

So, it’s time to get my house in order, keeping what’s essential and discarding the rest.  I’ll start in two places, I think.  My basement and my family storage unit over in Indiana!  Wish me well!