Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When will be the last time...?

I had a biopsy the other day. It's most likely nothing, according to Dr. Prajapati, and I'm amazed at how blasé I have become as a cancer patient. I think nothing of the stick of a needle or even scalpel because they have become my friends in my fight for survival...and I'm determined to survive. But when the day comes and my number is up, I'll go quietly and willingly. This is a gift that the past 5 or so years have given me.

Another gift I have been given is an ability to ponder without becoming melancholy...and ponder is something I often do. This lead to a conversation with Rick the other day. I'd been silently wondering about 'last times' for a while and so I decided to share with him. Have you ever thought about, ''when will be the last time''? The last times usually go marching by without any fanfare, unless it's a milestone: the last ball game, the last year of school, the last day at work, etc.

When was the last time Rick and I went horseback riding with our posse? We used to be quite the avid horse people - having owned as many as 11 horses at one time. We had a Thoroughbred stallion, Quarter Horse mares and three foals all in one spring. Wrangler Camp, for camping with horses, was a favorite haunt and we loved these times tremendously. Much to my terror now, I rode in the woods (alone) with both Rowan and Erika when they were around 1 year old or so. Erika actually 'broke' our stallion by being the first human on his back - now before you call CS, he was docile as a lamb and Rick was right there to very briefly place her in the saddle.

Later Erika got involved in 4-H. She excelled both in the Horse Bowl (academics) and in riding (poles, barrels, showmanship and dressage). It was an integral part of our daily lives. Trips to county fairs, then the State Fair, were all a family passion. Then something happened. I'm not sure what it was but before I knew it, I was horseless. Since Erika had horses for many years, I lived vicariously through her but I suppose my cowgirl days are gone...but not forgotten.

When was the last time Mom and I went shopping? She and I were quite the busy bees, dragging kids (hers and mine) to stores sometimes on a daily basis. We were big believers in retail therapy and found bargains that would make any penny pincher green with envy. But she got sick, got better, got sick and didn't get better and all the while I don't remember that last time that 'the girls' went out on the town for a day of fun and laughter. It's a memory I hold dear but it has an elusive quality about it because it wasn't marked by any one special ending...it just ended and that, was that!

As I was sharing these thoughts with Rick he made the statement that we'd better enjoy each day (and occasion) as if it is the last. Did I marry my soul mate or what?! So we talked for a while about the things that we enjoy doing together - he and I - gardening, cooking, spiritual encounters, and family. It's always a good idea to live today as if it will be our last but in ways more than just spiritual. Our Eternal Destiny depends on our believing that Jesus will come 'like a thief in the night' and we 'know not the day or the hour'...that is a good fact to stay focused on. But there are earthly reasons as well. We should cherish the times we spend with those we love or those who depend on us and treat each contact as if it were our last...it just might be.

The kids and I went to a funeral today. It was for a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. The family had many wonderful memories. He had known of his impending death and had had an opportunity to share a 'last time' with all of his loved ones. Some people, however, are not so lucky. They go in an unexpected instant...that last kiss goodbye REALLY is the LAST kiss goodbye. So it behooves us to make each 'goodbye' special...each 'I love you' an aware, 'look that person in the eye and mean it', special. It may be the last time...
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UPDATE: I received a call from the nurse at my doctor's office this afternoon. Everything went well with the biopsy...no cancer! Thanks be to God that I'll have a chance for (hopefully) many more 'last times'!

Thanks and blessings to all of my friends who pray for me and wait with me when I have a bit of 'drama' thrown my way ;-)