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, August 7, 2010

Faith and Hope

It is easy to get caught up in the unpredictable events of our daily lives. Some things are very important and require our immediate and undivided attention. Other things just seem that way at the time. I get caught up in things that I think are urgent, only to sit back, look at the big picture, and realize that they really have little to no relevance in things that really matter. As I think about what is important to me, a few come to mind that always matter. The love of friends and family. The hope that by doing what is required of me, I can be healed. My faith in God, the reasons that we are here, and that a better existence waits for us when our chores are complete. I used to think that this life was what it was all about. I have always believed in Heaven, but just assumed that it was so far off that my biggest and most real concern was my physical self and mortal well-being. My view on that changes continually now. We are responsible for this mortal body that we are given. How we treat it. What we put in it. What we put on it. The respect and love for it that we portray to others. If we treat our own body poorly, others will surmise that it is acceptable for them to, as well. That responsibility is a part of our time here, but not the only reason. I have felt as I travel this path with cancer, that our journey isn’t about the financial mark we make or the items we possess. It isn’t about the toys we collect. I enjoy these things as much as anyone, but our life is a trial of faith in preparation of our eternity. Even if you don’t put an eternal after-life as the solution to the equation, this life still has more to give than just plodding along with blinders on, clicking off the mile markers. There is unsurpassed beauty that was created for our enjoyment. People in our life that are there to give and receive love. What we need is truly different from what we think we want. Life is as simple or complicated as we choose to make it. When we slow down and enjoy the pure and simple things, the irrelevant are relegated to where they belong. In the background. Not to be obsessed over, but to be dealt with and checked off. Let the people who love you and you love be the reason that you get up each day. Greet the day with the knowledge that you will learn something that day that you have never seen, noticed, or experienced before in your life. Whatever your age. Have hope that God’s hand will be visible in your day. Recognize it when it happens. Have faith that there is more out there. God wants us to develop and progress. Exactly the same way that your father on earth wants you to grow. This is a wonderful place to be, but it is not about our time here. It is about the steps we take in our physical bodies to enhance our spiritual souls. As you put your soul first, in love, your body will get every ounce of fun out of this life. Actions always speak louder than words, so speaking a spiritual message, but doing otherwise doesn’t make you a messenger, it makes you a hypocrite. If you truly believe in your greater purpose here, it is far better to quote scripture in deed, than in word. The message is clear in any faith, any denomination, or even if you choose to make your own way through life lessons and self-study. Good is good. Right is right. Faith is belief in things not seen. Faith is hope. I believe that there is more after this life because it makes sense to me that all of this could not just appear from nothing without a Creator kicking it off. Even if you believe in evolution, it had to start somewhere from Someone. I have hope and I have faith that we are meant to be good and to do good because we are loved. If we follow our hearts, it leads us that way, every time. I have faith that someday I will know this to be true. Until then, my job is to be sure that my actions reflect my faith.