A couple of days ago my husband and I had the opportunity to be on a panel designed to encourage and support caregivers of cancer patients. This July will mark 2 years from when I finished my Chemo treatments for Leukemia. What a perfect way to “remember” all we have been through and how far we have come since February 6th, 2015. That was a bad day. When I got to the hospital at 5:00 pm that Friday (after being told over the phone at 4:00pm that I had Leukemia, they had a bed for me at the hospital and I should get there immediately) they told me that if I would have waited another day I would have been “unsavable”. Reflecting on our experience the other night caused us both to refresh our gratitude and adjust our attitude about where we are at today. It’s probably hard for you to understand unless you have walked a similar road, but even if you go through horrific events that give you perspective and clarity about what really matters, our human nature gradually drags us back down to the darkened vision of complaining, whining and despairing over much less.
Spending time looking back on where I was and reminding myself of where I could be today (or not be today) renews my hope and refreshes my spirit. It keeps me humble and less likely to judge others. It helps me be grateful for the good gifts in my life, even when I don’t feel like God is giving me what I want. It works the same for me, and for you, even if you haven’t had a terminal disease. You have probably heard the phrase from the Bible, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” Oswald Chambers says it like this: “If the Spirit of God has given you a vision of what you are apart from the grace of God, you know there is no criminal who is half so bad in actuality as you know yourself to be in possibility. My ‘grave’ has been opened by God and I know that in me dwelleth no good thing.”
I don’t know why God chose to let me live and why my friend Tony, who was down the hall from me, didn’t. I don’t know why that car that almost hit me swerved at the last minute. I don’t know why I made the choice to follow certain paths as a teenager and not others. I don’t know why I got to be born in America and not in Somalia. I don’t know why I can have an alcoholic beverage and why it can kill others. I don’t know why my kids are healthy today while other children suffer daily. Oh wait….yes I do. It’s God’s grace. Now, before you get worked up, I am not saying that those on the other side of the coin didn’t get God’s grace. What I am saying is that it is crucial for me to remember that without his grace, my life could look very different. And the only appropriate response to such gifts is to keep that at the for front of my mind. To daily remember the potential I have to being somewhere much different. To live in mindful gratitude. Yes, it’s up to me to make wise, sound choices. But there is much I can’t control. Much more I have to trust God with. “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”