Life Is a Grindstone
“Life is a grindstone. What doesn’t grind you down, shapes and polishes you.”
My life has been shaped by four major events and their enfolding consequences.
- Meeting my wife, Suzy.
- The birth of my children.
- My service in the Army.
Many of my readers have their own experiences with one through three. So, I’d like to comment today regarding Cancer.
In his book, It’s Not About the Bike, Lance Armstrong writes about being in the hospital in Memphis being treated for testicular cancer. He tells of a fellow patient coming to his room one night and telling him that ‘we are the lucky ones’. Lance said that at the time he didn’t understand what the other patient meant.
And that is the way it is. When you are fighting to live, you fail to see the bright side. And, yes there is a bright side. Because one of the gifts you receive when you come close to death is a new appreciation for being alive.
I’ve almost died four times. The first two times I was young and stupid and I didn’t learn anything. The last two times I’ve learned to stop and smell the roses and listen.
The biggest change in my behavior after surviving near death was making a conscious decision to listen. Before “C” I would hear what was being said but I was often multi-tasking. You know, thinking about what clever thing I was going to say next, or what to say to steer the conversation to a topic I was more interested in. I’ve just about stopped all of that. Now, I stay centered in the moment and listen. I want to absorb all that is being said. And, boy is it different from just waiting for my chance to talk.
We all know about rose smelling. We’ve been told to do it in stories and songs for years. Yet we get busy and walk on past the roses in our life. You know. Our spouses, children, parents, friends and neighbors. We work hard and collect shoes or toys, knowing that the one with the most of either when they die is the winner.
But, I can tell you and so can many other survivors, it’s not about stuff. It’s about relationships.
In my career as a Realtor, I come in contact with lots of people. Many provide economic opportunities for me. All provide me an opportunity to serve and develop a relationship. And it is this opportunity to develop new relationships that I value the most. Each day I celebrate being alive and making new friends.
I’m looking forward to getting to know all of my blog readers. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
And, if you, a family member or friend wants to know more about my experiences surviving stage four colo-rectal cancer and neuroendocrine tumors, short bowel syndrome, or wearing an ostomy long-term call, text, or email. I’m not bashful about talking about this. It seems because its “bathroom stuff”, folks are embarrassed to ask questions. Don’t be. I’m a one man support group. If you are at that place where you’re looking into the deep dark hole of despair searching for answers, call. I’m eager to share a story of survival. ‘Cause hope matters.
[This post originally appeared in TomBallSells.com on 11/6/2015]