We had the privilege of "going home" to my small hometown on the weekend to tell our story. The church that I grew up in invited us on Friday night to share the story that we have lived. It was the first time that Darryl and I shared together. It was really nice to be on stage with my "life partner". Before hand, Darryl said he was really nervous, but I think he was more calm then me when it really came to talking; he also made more jokes than I did and got the crowd into it. There was a crowd - considering the size of my hometown, there were a lot of people. It was really touching for me to look out on the crowd and see familiar faces, faces I hadn't seen in many, many years, but faces that brought back good memories. Every person's presence meant a lot to us - it was your way of saying you care about this crazy life we're living. We didn't get a chance to talk to everyone, but we do want to thank everyone who came. We hope our words made a difference for you and wasn't just a night of entertainment. We talked a lot about "legacy" that night and challenged everyone there to consider their's. It is not common practice to consider what we will be remembered for or to consider what we are currently doing to make a difference when we're gone. I think lots of us think it's unlucky to consider this, but it's actually foolish to not. Death is as real as life....if you live, you will die. Making our life count matters. Making sure we're ready to die is also really important. I believe that eternity exists after this life. I believe that I will spend my eternity in heaven - in the presence of God. I also believe that what I say, do and act upon here on earth will matter when I get there. I screw up a lot....I say the wrong thing, I don't take chances to help others, I act out of selfishness....but I know God forgives me every time I ask him to. My sins won't keep me out of heaven and my good acts won't get me there. But I know God smiles on me when I do make right choices, and I hope someday he says to me, "well done". By the way, in case there is someone reading this who doesn't know how to ensure you are going to heaven.....it's almost too simple because of how much God loves us. All he asks is that we admit we have sin and ask him for forgiveness, believe that he died on the cross to pay for our sins, and believe that he rose from the dead to forgive us. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that anyone who believes in him will not die but have everlasting life." My challenge on Friday was to think about our legacies and my hope of heaven, but it's also important to focus on living and be thankful for this beautiful life. I have promised myself and my family that I will make a conscious effort to not think about dying so often and think more about living.
Lots of people have checked in to see how I am doing emotionally and how my back is feeling. I'm happy to say they are both slowly getting better. I have been very committed to my exercises and stretches which are helping my back improve. As a result, I'm getting more sleep, which has helped me to be emotionally more stable as well. I have learned that my back pain is probably due to radiated tissue. So I've started seeing another specialist twice a week who is helping me conquer the ramifications of radiation. It will be a long hard battle, but I know I'm up for it. So I go for appointments most days....physio, specialist, massage etc. Then I come home and do an hour and a half of exercises and stretches. Looking after this body has become a full-time job. I'm high maintenance! I am thankful that I have the resources to do all of this and the capability. It will be nice when I can leave the house in flip flops, a t-shirt and shorts and not warm up the van for half an hour before I leave! Spring is around the corner right? The thought of spring fills me with hope. Hope is what helps me carry on. What fills you with hope today?