Earlier this evening Gary and I went up to the fairgrounds and spent some time at the Butler County Relay for Life event. It was wonderful to see so many people come out to celebrate surviving cancer, or remember someone they lost to cancer, and mostly, to raise money for research so that many people in the future can be cured of cancer.
It seems like almost everyone's life has been touched by cancer in some way. What a terrible disease! Family members have had scares with it, Gary's dad died of prostate cancer, my aunt is finishing up radiation treatments for breast cancer, and I can think of so many friends and community members who have had to go through a long struggle with cancer and all of the rough stuff that comes with it.
As I write, I'm not even sure what to say. I guess I just want to acknowledge that there are many people who are doing so much good for cancer research and it really is making a difference. Many people are getting screened for different types of cancers, and when it is found early it can often be cured.
Walking around the track at Relay for Life was very sobering for me. I recognized names on many of the luminaries. Some were "In Honor of" someone, but so many more were "In Memory of" someone. I knew some of those names, too, and it was sad to remember losing them.
Back home again, I've been thinking of friends who have lost a loved one to cancer and my heart hurts for them. I want to do better at reaching out while someone is going through a terrible time like that, instead of just thinking about them and saying a little prayer. I want to be better about sending cards and offering to help in some way.
Even more than that, I want to appreciate life more. Seeing lots of people at Relay for Life wearing purple "Survivor" shirts was inspiring. They took a lap around the track together and there was something special about the fact that they are still here. I take my life for granted so often and, to be honest, I whine about how hard it is. Truth is, it's not that hard. I make it hard when I focus on the piddly little problems I have. I make it hard when I choose to not be thankful for my family, my health, and all of the blessings I have in life. I make it hard when my focus is all on me, instead of on the God who is right beside me through each and every thing going on in my life.
Let's focus on Him, and be grateful for life today.
"...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10b NIV)
Do you ever take life for granted? How can you change your focus so that you can once again realize how precious life really is?