Monday, December 31, 2007

Sixteen Years

I was at Uncle Tellius' house for a New Year's Eve celebration. We had built a bonfire in the backyard, and had marshmallows on hand for toasting once a bed of coals had been established. My neck was still a little sore from the lymph node biopsy done on the 23rd, but I was 19 years old, and at that age, even surgery can't keep you down long.

Mama and Daddy were at Granny and Gramps' house when they got the call from the surgeon. I have no idea what transpired between the time of the call and the time it took them to get to me, but now that I am a parent it must have been excruciating.

Cancer.

An unthinkable diagnosis for your child, yet there it was. If you want to read the whole story, go here. My point today is that it has been 16 years since that New Year's Eve when my life was turned upside down and inside out. If I had been diagnosed 15 years before, my prognosis would have been grim. Although the treatment was not exactly a walk in the park, it saved my life.

I have had sixteen additional years to get an education, get married and have two beautiful children. I have been blessed beyond measure to simply live, and everything else is just extra. My life has been filled with joy, sorrow, love and disappointment. All of the things that each and every person experiences at some point in life, but the difference is my perspective. I think that any person who is faced with their mortality, by whatever means, is changed in an very primal way.

For some, like me, it is for the better. I have an appreciation for life that has nothing to do with how much stuff I have or how many friends surround me. I appreciate my life simply because I am alive. Each breath is a gift and although I wish I could say that I have not wasted a bit of time on things that are unimportant, I can't. Understanding how vaporous our lives really are in the grand scheme of things, doesn't change the fact that I am a human being with vices and unlovely personality traits. But when the time comes to choose stuff over relationships or job over family, the choice is simple and easy for me.

Beginning on December 31, 1991, my life became a gift. Each moment to be cherished and savored. The things in my life seem so much sweeter, especially knowing that it was God's sovereign will that designed my life this way. Although I couldn't have known the path it would take, He intended my life to be what it is.

So today I thank God for the sixteen years of grace that He granted to me, and I pray that whether the time I have left is short or long that He will be pleased with my life.



Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.



5 comments:

Praise and Coffee said...

Oh Xandra,
I cried, you touched my heart.

Thank you for this precious reminder.

You are a gift!! Even though it's just through the blogging world, I'm glad that we've "met."

Hugs,
Sue

Myra said...

I am fighting back tears. The year this happened to you,God blessed us with a son who is 16 now. I am so very thankful to God that you lived and that you are touching others' lives with your testimony. I was just browsing through blogs and I saw yours... I have two blogs, the blogger one and Picture My Thoughts at Life With Christ. (http://myra.lifewithChrist.org) I would love to have you stop by. Happy New Year! Love, Myra

Karen said...

Xandra, what a beautiful testimony to the gift of life that God has given each of us. Thank you for sharing.

The Relay for Life shirt my daughter is wearing in the picture -- for a number years we had a team that walked for my brother-in-law who is a survivor. He was diagnosed with melanoma and has been cancer free for going on 5years.

Alana said...

Beautiful, just beautiful. Thanks for sharing that perspective, friend!

Karen said...

Such an awsome testimony to what God will do in our lives!! I had goose bumps all over reading your story. My father is a cancer survivor as well and even though at the time we could not see it....it was a blessing. Look forward to getting to know you better through the wonderful world of blogging!!

xoxox,
Karen