In mid-October, I finally got around to buying a pumpkin for my porch. I was at Wal-Mart, and I saw a display that said “Pink Pumpkins.” When I went over to look, I found that these pumpkins benefited breast cancer research. Then I remembered that October was National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (see NBCAM.org). So of course I bought a pink pumpkin–not only did it benefit a good cause, but I also loved their uniqueness.
Cancer had also been on my mind just the month before, in September, when I had to have a biopsy myself. My lump was in a different area and it turned out to be benign, but for a short time I faced the possibility of having cancer. And that makes you look at life a little differently. Priorities change. Things that seemed important before suddenly don’t matter. One thing that struck me when I went to the huge medical complex to have my biopsy done was how packed the parking garages and parking lots were. That meant there were a lot of people dealing with cancer and other serious illnesses. Thankfully, there continue to be more and more cancer survivors as time goes on and hopefully we’re much closer to finding a cure soon.
Around this same time in September, when I was cleaning out a cabinet filled with books in my living room, I came across one I had read several years ago, One Month to Live. The book (a New York Times bestseller) challenges you to live life fully, with passion and purpose, making the most of your time here on earth. And living life with an eternal perspective–focusing on what really is important and leaving a meaningful legacy.
I noticed I had marked a page with a sticky note, so I went to that page and reread it. It included the story of a young wife and mother who was losing her battle with cancer. And then I thought about all those cancer patients at the medical complex. Even though there are more survivors and better treatments, some patients will make it through, and some, like this brave woman, will not. But she had an eternal perspective–she had the hope of heaven because of Jesus and knew she would see her family in heaven again. Here is the passage:
Jess Moody was a young pastor in Owensborough, Kentucky, when he became good friends with a young couple in his church. One day the husband came to Pastor Moody’s office clearly distraught and said, “Jess, I’ve just heard the most awful news. My wife has terminal cancer, and it has spread all over her body. The doctors have just told us she has only weeks, not even months, and Jess, she’s at the hospital, and she’s asking for you. We don’t know how to handle it. We don’t know what to do.”
Jess immediately went to the hospital. There the young wife and mother said to him, “I remember in one of your sermons you said a thousand years is like a day to God and a day is unto a thousand years. Is that true? Is a thousand years like a day to God?” The pastor said, “Yes, it’s in the Bible.” She said, “Good, because I’ve been doing the math, and I figure if a thousand years is like a day, then forty years is like one hour. I’ll be leaving my husband and the children soon. He may live another forty years, but that will be just like an hour to me in heaven. When he gets to heaven, I’ll greet him and say, ‘Where have you been for an hour? Did you just go to the office, or were you running errands? I’ve missed you.’ My children may live another seventy or eighty years, but that will be like two hours to me. When they get to heaven, I’ll greet them and say, ‘How was school today? Mom misses you when you’re gone for a couple of hours. I wonder how you are doing, because mommies don’t like to be away from their children long.’ “
Jess Moody said two weeks later she went to be with the Lord, and the last thing she said to her husband was “I love you. Take care of my children. I’ll see you in an hour.”
From ONE MONTH TO LIVE, by Kerry and Chris Shook
What an inspiring example of having an eternal perspective! I was so touched when I read this. Because it was a tragic situation. But this woman’s story shows that even through tragedy, there is hope.
There is always hope.