Gone are the long, lazy, boring days of youth. I am now 46 years old and with each passing year, time seems to speed up. I know that time hasn’t actually changed but I sure have. I have noticed that I don’t bounce back like I once did when it comes to physical things. If I have a really long travel day or take a few days to go even on vacation, it takes me a couple of days to get back to normal. However, I have also found that I seem to bounce back faster with flesh wounds, meaning emotional things. I have gotten a lot older and a little wiser and I understand humans a little bit better. I have come to understand that we are all sinners and we all mess up and someone is always hurting someone, either by accident or by intention. I have learned to overlook a lot of that where it once stuck with me. Most people say and do things because they really are convinced they are right and that tends to hurt people who disagree.
Life happens at warp speed.
My mom and dad turned 70 and 73 this year. Misty and I have been married now for 5 years, wow. Seems like yesterday and seems like forever, that is how it is for those of us over 30, lol. Our oldest son is 26, middle son is 4, and our youngest is 2. We have grandkids who are 5 and 4 and every day I sit and grieve in some way the fact that they are growing up so fast. I have learned there too to laugh and have fun as much as humanly possible, these are the people God has placed in our lives to make us who we are, to share life with us. I grieve the fact that mom and dad’s health isn’t the best but I rejoice that they are both Christians and come to church with me every week. I celebrated one of the greatest days of my life when I baptized my dad in May of this year, a dream come true.
I grieve every day the fact that I wanted all my life to have a dozen brothers and sisters, a large family and now my only sister and my only brother have gone on to eternity, my sister at the age of 26 and my brother at the age of 45, unbelievable. I still remember those talks Judy, Keith, and I would have when I was 21 about how fortunate we were to have all of our grandparents, parents, and each other. Wow how things have changed. Even though my heart aches to be with them I celebrate that they all in some way told me they were sure of heaven and based on that, I believe we will be together for eternity. Eternity in heaven is when life will finally be as it should be, I can’t wait. I understand why it is so hard for young people to look to eternity and see the glory of it all and I can understand why as we get older, we long for that time.
Life happens at warp speed.
There was a time when I boasted about the fact that I never get sick. I would have a cold about once every three years. I never went to the doctor for anything, if I got a cold I could easily fight it off with over the counter stuff. I run several hundred miles a year and I do believe that has helped me to stay as healthy as I am. However, last year I got a cold that lingered for about two weeks and one Sunday after preaching two times I finally went to the urgent care to find out that I had Bronchitis. The Dr. laughed and said I was a fool for running 40 miles a week but he agreed it was probably the running that had kept me from having pneumonia at that point. He even said if I felt like it I could run the next day, he laughed. At that point I was dragging, miserable in fact. I realized then I was getting older and that I just don’t bounce back like I once did. Then around September of this year we took a family trip to Dollywood. We had a blast but it was during this trip that I once again took a cold and ended up going to the doctor, the diagnosis was bronchitis once again, what is with that? My physician noticed a spot on my right ear during that visit and asked if it had changed color recently and I had noticed the week before that indeed it had changed color. We made an appointment and removed the little spot from my ear and a few days later I learned that it was Melanoma Cancer. It didn’t dawn on me at that point that I actually had cancer. It is a little spot, no big deal.
Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers lived and died with cancer. I have aunts and uncles from both sides of the family who have dealt with cancer, there is lots of cancer in my family. But I never thought I would have it.
When the results came back positive for cancer I learned that I had to go again and have the place on my ear excised so that the margins could be removed. They did that last week and today I have an ear full of stitches, it is swollen and uncomfortable to touch. However, I am so thankful that I have my hearing and the soreness will go away. I am still waiting to hear from the surgeon about the results from this latest surgery. The deal is, they believe they cut away all of the skin cancer in the first cutting and that this last cutting was just a safety measure. I will soon start to see a dermatologist on a regular basis who will take a look (an in-depth look, one that almost seems invasive) to make sure there are no more suspicious looking spots.
Life happens at warp speed.
Why have I said all of this? Simply because I woke up thankful this morning that God gave me life. God blessed me with a sister and brother who loved me and we had so many awesome memories together. God blessed me with some awesome grandparents. God blessed me with the best parents in the world. God gave me a wife who loves me and kids who adore me. I am a blessed man and I realize this life is not the end, it is just the beginning. All of these people will be part of my life for eternity, ETERNITY! Man am I blessed. I don’t feel sorry for myself, I am grateful for everything God has given to me and everything and everyone that I will enjoy for eternity. I don’t know what tomorrow holds but I know God holds the future. One of my favorite preachers says, “When you can’t see God’s hand, you can still trust His heart.” I believe that, I have staked my entire life on the truth of God’s Word.
Life happens at warp speed, live it well.