Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Fill in the “B.C.” blank with whatever has made you aware of your mortality: Before Cancer? Before Chronic illness? Before you faced up to Aging? Before your Accident? Before you became Widowed? Before whatever Life Catastrophe came upon you?

Think of “A.D.” as: After Diagnosis, or After your Life Disorder or Disaster, or after whatever tap on the shoulder you received from God.

At this present time I have four friends who suddenly were diagnosed with cancer and are suffering a stormy sea episode in their lives. So I went online to find out more about their illnesses and their prognosis. In the process of my search for the physical aspects, I came across a gem of an article on the Internet titled, “What Matters More NOW?” 

The following quotes from real people gave me a glimpse of what has become more important to them now that they are in an “A.D.” position, and what they have put on the back burner as a result. 
“...I want to spend what time I have left doing what I believe is important. Taking care of my health and spending time with family are my highest priorities. I have no qualms about saying no to an activity or task if I need more rest, or if my family wants to do something together. Living up to others’ expectations of me and worrying about failure are no longer important...”

“...What is more important to me now is to be kind to myself and others. Less important to me is anything that causes me undue stress. I quit my job when I received this diagnosis because of how stressful and unhappy it made me. Research tells us that stress can depress the immune system, and I believe it is a cancer-driver....”

“...My family, friends, and life's experiences are so very important to me now. I want to savor every moment that I can, the big things and the little things. What is less important is drama and things that just suck your energy uselessly. Having possessions is less important to me — unless those things contribute to adding to adventures and experiences with my husband and friends....” 

“...Seriously living my life is more important to me now. I think, before cancer — before I realized my own mortality — I seemed to just go through the motions of life. I was letting life's activities push me. As a busy mom it's easy to do. I'm curbing my tendency toward perfectionism. Now I'm much more interested in experiences than 'to do' lists. I'm in this mindset of 'You never know how long you'll be here, so let's do it!' Less important is what anyone thinks of me....”

“...I used to work a lot. I really loved my job so I worked long hours. There’s always more to do. In fact, I often put work first. I don't do that anymore. Instead I'm really focusing on my health and my relationships. I eat well, exercise, and tend my garden. I spend quality time with my husband, family, and friends. I travel as much as I can because there’s so much beauty in the world, from the great museums to natural wonders, unfamiliar streets, and new people. Now is my time to live and live well. I've finally discovered what is important to me....” 

Their comments gave me pause to examine myself, the season of life in which I am living, and my own circumstances. In fact, I have experienced most of the above “B.C.s” including being a cancer survivor. Most recently I was involved in an auto accident that, had it happened a split second later, might have cost me my life. I'm a widow, I have certain chronic health issues, I just turned 90, and life seems to hold one stress, distress, and challenge after another.

Whatever our unique circumstances, how then shall we live “A.D.”? What is God saying to us through our particular tap on the shoulder?

On the other hand, perhaps our “B.C. life” is smooth sailing at the moment. Nothing is rocking our boat. Our sea is calm and we don't see any storms on the horizon. 

We are in good health without any traumas. We may feel that we are invulnerable and immortal. That we are indispensable and so essential to God's grand plan that He wouldn't let anything go wrong for us. Not so. A lot of disorders and happenings are possible and probable and inevitable while we live out our lives in our “earth suits.” God controls our life breath. Rest assured that because we are human with a limited span of life there will be negative events and adversities down the line to try us. 

If we are on a placid sea just now, let's take advantage of our present serene slice of life to discern wisely in advance what should be important in life to us and in God's eternal plan. Let's not wait for some cataclysmic event to shake us up and thrust us into suddenly and drastically having to change our way of life because we are in an “A.D.” state. Shouldn't we adjust our compass now?

Leona Choy

Without me, Lord, could life go on?
Would the world still turn
and work get done?
Without me, Lord, could they walk
by themselves
who are leaning on my arm?
Would they be kept from harm?
Without me, could You still work?

Who am I to think
that I'm the hub
around which the world turns
and all spokes lead to me?
God is not obliged to work
only through my earthen vessel
my created lump of clay
with numbered days
and faltering ways.

With me or without me
His purpose He'll fulfill.
I'm amazed that He stoops to choose
and sovereignly use
this human trifle
as an instrument
to do His will!

Lord, cause me to understand
my dispensability
my frailty
and still offer You
my availability.

1 comment:

Jennifer Botkin Phillips said...

Much food for thought! Why do we wait until something "happens" and we are thrown into a spin to seize life now? I wspecially enjoyed and appreciate your poem at the end, Without Me-:).