This blog is made up of thoughts for my children as I battle cancer. It is not meant to be all knowing or holier than thou. It is simply a place for those that have asked, to read about the lessons that I would like to share with my children, whether I am able to stay with them, or not.



As I contemplate what I have left in this life, my thoughts often turn to “What have I done with this gift so far?” The answer to that question is exactly as deep and complex as the question. I can choose to look at it from a very high level and say that I have made mistakes, but overall, feel pretty good about my efforts. That is fine for maintenance purposes, but as I begin this Introduction from a hospital bed afflicted with Stage IV Prostate Cancer at 40 years old, it is not sufficient. The prognosis for my disease lies somewhere between 6 months and 2 years.

The odd thing about life is its ever changing definitions and standards. When I was younger, I would characterize life as freedom to make my own decisions and choices, beholden to no one. When I married, my life felt like it was intangible, yet to be defined, like a ghost. It was something that I was working towards, a goal. My wife and I were building a life together. It was like watching our first home being built. I saw the foundation, then the structure come into focus. Eventually, we began to see the frame taking shape to resemble our dreams and expectations. After we had children, my life completely became our life. Our life developed into defined roles. Some, my wife assumed, while others became mine. Instead of a mist that was formed by the particles of a concept, life became tangible and required research, planning, and action. I didn’t think of me anymore. Me became us. Not all the time. I’m not so full of myself to disregard times of selfishness, but my family of four, was ONE. I felt that one of my main roles and responsibilities was to provide for my family. To provide is a concept that isn’t only financial, but also to make sure that essential necessities of life were available to my family. Sometimes it was paid for, sometimes it was a shoulder, and sometimes, it was just time.

Not too long ago, our life changed. At 39, what was thought to be Prostatitis was diagnosed as Advanced and Metastatic Prostate Cancer. The cancer had left the prostate and spread to the lymph nodes, bladder, hips, pelvis, ribs, sternum, shoulder blades, and spine. My vision of life turned into a fight to live. My children, ages 9 and 11 became the focus of that fight.

As I pondered that high level question of whether I have done enough with my life, it inevitably became a much deeper question with much deeper answers. The more I thought about the question, the more I realized that the answer was much more involved than, “basically, I did fine.” The fact that I have 2 young children that I may not see progress into adulthood told me all that I needed to know. No matter what I had ever done, unless I left a road map for them, it could never be enough.

So what did I want for them? Easy enough. Everything. The best. All they could dream and all that they desired. As I prepared to make sure that they had all of these things, I realized that wanting these things at a high level, but not defining or measuring what that meant or telling them how to achieve it was the equivalent of calling them to my death bed, shaking their hands, and telling them, “Good Luck!” If that is all I give them, I have not done nearly enough.

These writings then, are exactly that. I don’t know how long I will have before I am called from this place, but I want my wife and children to know what I mean when I say, “I want the best for you.” I want them to feel my spirit with them, even if my body cannot. Mostly, I want my immeasurable love for them to be felt eternally as they progress through this life. I love them with every particle of my being and it overwhelms me. I want them to always know that without question. I want to define what “The Best” means to me and the values that make the type of person who lives that kind of life. This is for them, in the hopes that it will give them a map to use, whether I am there to guide them in this life, or the next.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Don't Put Off The Good Stuff!

I have always been as good at putting things off as most, and better at it than many. Sometimes it was things that I dreaded and just didn’t want to do. I think everyone has those and will have to find a way to make a list of these and just work until they are crossed off. The type of procrastination that I am talking about is different, and probably makes less sense. It is putting off the things that you really want to do and enjoy simply because you feel there will always be time to do them later. My experience with cancer has shown me that this type of thinking can be a trap. Hopefully not, but we are not guaranteed a long life of perpetual ability and/or capability. Life moves quickly and the means, resources, and time to put regular life on hold to accomplish the things that build our foundation fades into the rearview mirror. Soon we look into that mirror only to realize that the opportunities to give our life definition, failed to define us because we didn’t give them the fuel to move us from a place of comfort to a life changing unknown. I think there are two types of dreams that this boils down to. One has many subsets to it. That one is the “Wants”. The Wants are dreams that are fun. They are the type that you sit in a room and someone begs you to tell the story of “when you did…” To me, these are like skydiving, or swimming with dolphins, or backpacking through Europe. All noble adventures that add the garnishments and spice of who you are. They provide the stories, give the colors, and put the gravy on the meat and potatoes. The 2nd type is the meat and potatoes. They don’t spice the meal, they are the meal. They don’t color the painting, they are the canvas. These are the dreams that I want to talk about. These are so individual that everyone’s are different. One of mine is on a ship on the ocean. Sounds common, right? Only it is not to be on the ocean on a ship. It is the feeling of peace and serenity of slowly rising and falling with the tide. Of feeling a light breeze on my face and the faint smell of salt water in my nose. It is the feeling of complete removal of any concern, doubt, or worry in my soul. In it’s place is the perfect alignment of creation and my essence breathing a sigh of contentment. That centers me and feeds my soul. That feeling doesn’t give me a story to tell. It gives me strength and power to know my creator and to fulfill the promise of who I am to be.
Some dreams are identifiable, like that one. Others are not a singular experience, but a goal to build a pattern of living that reflects light to others that you care about. One example is to take not only the time to be involved with your family, but to take your time to be with your family. Your best time. To dedicate your love and attention to be present with them. Not to ask, “Am I having fun”, but to ask, “Am I making sure that they are having fun”. When our focus is on the service of someone else, our priorities change. What we thought we wanted, or even needed, changes. We become a pathway that real magic uses to truly transform. It is easier to attach conditions and rules to something. That is because you can give it, but never really lose complete control over it. It takes a great deal of humility to give this way because you do not get to dictate how it is received or perceived. You just leave it alone, and let nature decide. Even though this is the hardest and scariest way to love someone, if you can allow yourself to truly love someone unconditionally, you are promised to feel love in return. If it is unconditional, their response is irrelevant. The Spirit of our Lord will reward you with unconditional love in return. I know it seems that I drifted off track from procrastination of true dreams, but I didn’t. The important dreams to follow through on are the one’s that make you feel God’s unconditional love in your heart for Him and for Others. This book does that for me.
I love both of you. Unconditionally. Forever. Eternally. Completely.