In about an hour, I will be getting a baseline mammogram. I was thinking nothing of it, till I ran into a girlfriend yesterday who told me that she was diagnosed with a very aggressive breast cancer in early June. She looks wonderful and feels great. No pain, no discomfort, no concerns...just a routine mammogram that discovered her cancer. She will miss her husband's 20 year high school reunion next month, as her double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery is two days prior. And she was all smiles as she told me.
I love her zest for life. She understands living life to the full!
As I showered this morning, I prayed for my sweet friend Marcy and her upcoming surgery, and my high school BFF Kobi who is currently undergoing radiation for Hodgkins Lymphoma. I prayed also for my dear friend Adam, who lost his beloved Aimee to breast cancer in April 2010. As I prayed for complete healing and a cancer-free outcome for Marcy and Kobi, I also prayed that all three of my friends would embrace new life lessons through their circumstances.
One lesson that I learned...through the unexpected news that my father had died of AIDS...is to embrace every single day. Life is such a precious gift. I uncovered the news of my father's passing while training for a 5K benefiting AIDS affected and infected orphans in South Africa. Talk about timing... Every run thereafter was flooded with gratitude that I could run. My father spent his final weeks lying in a VA hospital bed, most certainly unable to run. At some point, AIDS infected orphans in South Africa are also lying in beds. In those weeks of training for the 5K, I ran for them. I continue to run, bike and swim today for everyone who cannot...
I have always been a pretty adventurous gal. I've been to Canada and Europe and I've cruised just about every Caribbean destination. I socialize easily and am not afraid to try foreign languages or escargot. However... Until my 30's, I used adventure as a way to escape reality. My life was pretty sad when I was wounded and far from God. I am so happy - and so grateful - to have healed and learned enough that today's adventure is entirely about being fully plugged-in and engaged, rather than withdrawing and avoiding.
I pray for my friends, and for myself, that down days are days of rest and not days of waste. I pray that we all continually seek lives that are fully alive. Loving and serving. Worshiping. Learning and teaching. Exploring. Sharing. Connecting. Trusting.
My friend Aimee led the most exemplary fully alive life I've ever seen. I am beyond blessed to have known her.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10