I was just ending two wonderful weeks at the cottage. The weather during the week had been excellent for completing the required annual repairs and maintenance. And on weekends, the weather was even better, perfect for boating, kayaking, swimming and fishing. It was now Friday. But with much nervous anticipation, I finally received an email from my Doctor’s assistant, Judy. It was definitely good news. But after receiving her message I was confused as to why I was suddenly becoming uncharacteristically discouraged.
I had a few medical tests performed over the summer. My Doctor suspected the cancer for which I had two previously surgeries, the first in 2010 and the second in 2012 had returned. However the biopsy was negative and an emergency CT Scan was also negative. So while these results were good news he said, the current problem was not yet explained. So surgery was required. It was Friday afternoon and I was required to be at TGH for pre-op care on Monday with surgery scheduled for Tuesday. The rest of August was reserved for my recovery.
The surgery was completed. It was 9pm Tuesday and I lay in bed hooked up again to various tubes and monitors to ensure all was progressing well. It was an all too familiar scene for me. My nurse Denise arrived for the scheduled 2 hour interval investigative report. While performing her duties, she had mentioned the sudden death of Robin Williams. As like many, I was shocked. Denise’s comment on his death said much about all our lives. “How could one who seemed to have so much in life, be so depressed that he would want to take his own life?” After Denise left, I pondered on her question. We can never judge the lives of others simply by outward appearances and actions. We never know the hidden challenges many face. We should never criticize and/or condemn in ignorance.
My first meeting with cancer was in February 2010. I was required to inform my company’s Board of Directors of the situation for proper succession planning. I remember the Chair of the Board’s comments to me. Sue said, “Merv, the Doctors may be able to manage the disease and even remove if only temporarily it’s cause, but it will always be a worry you will live with and have to learn to endure.” Her words proved to be true. No matter how many negative tests are received, successful surgeries completed and/or long intervals of remission enjoyed, I will always live with a fear of the unknown and the suspected return of “it”. I could then allow it to become an unnecessary roadblock to living life to its fullest. And so all alone, in a hospital room, while the world was seemingly alive outside, it would have been easy for me to succumb to a mild state of depression or at least at minimum serious discouragement.
To help relax my mind, I reached for my iPod. I scrolled through the hundreds of songs I had saved and listened to many times before. I stopped at one recorded by Chris Tomlin, entitled “God’s Great Dance Floor”. The music was great but the words were greater. The song’s lyrics made me realize that in life there will be disappointments, and often times, many legitimate reasons for discouragement. But I should never let these become so great a depression that life no longer is worth living. Regardless of circumstance, LIFE, God’s Great Dance Floor, is to be enjoyed. We have the means to overshadow our disappointments with many victories. Discouragement can be replaced with a new hope. Depression can be can be overcome with a purpose filled life.
Keep the word POSITIVE on your mind constantly. Its meaning will keep you focused. Here’s what it could mean for you and me.
PEOPLE. Surround yourself with people who care about you. People who will encourage you. People who pick you up when they see you might be falling. I thank Marco, Shannon, Sandro, Linda, David, and many others who are there to do just that for me.
OPPORTUNITY. Life is filled with opportunity. But if we refuse to explore, we will never discover. We must be willing to leave the past behind and explore the future with confidence to find those opportunities that give our lives meaning and success.
SELF. We must be selfish. That is we must look after ourselves. Our lives can become too complicated; so demanding; and have such high and unrealistic expectations. Accept yourself. Don’t let others define your life for you. When you wake up each day, tell the world who you are and what you plan to do that day. Don’t allow the world to describe and run your life for you.
INVEST. Time spent serving and helping others will do wonders for our emotional well being. It is the greatest reward of life. Get involved in projects with no expectation of return. You will be amazed at what you have to give. And the unexpected returns of your investment will be unselfishly multiplied.
TIME. It is our most precious resource. Use it wisely. Take time to dance on and around God’s great dance floor. May your focus be your faith, family and friends. Stay true to these three.
IMMOVABLE. Take the time to define your personal values. Make a commitment to honouring them. Don’t be afraid to publicly declare what these values are and that your life is governed by them. Cause them to be immovable so that they are never compromised.
VICTORY. A victorious life is a purpose driven life. Without purpose, meaning, hope, vision, we perish and waste away. Find your purpose, now!
EXPECT. Never, never, never give up. Through it all, expect to live an abundant life. Among life’s disappointments, through discouraging days and nights, regardless of how dark the clouds, eventually the sun will shine. We know it will so expect it and receive it.
Think positive. Be positive. Stay positive.
When I woke up from surgery and the drugs began to wear off, I realized once again I was alive. Down but not out. Damaged but not destroyed. Broken but not defeated. Discouraged? Absolutely not! I am alive! And I am ready to dance, on God’s great dance floor called LIFE. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing that will keep me from enjoying that dance to its fullest.
So come, let’s dance together, Let’s enjoy LIFE.
Next issue: August 31st, 2014.
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