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Let me tell you the story of Chris. Chris was in his mid-thirties, married and living in Pennsylvania with his wife and two high energy little boys. Chris was always physically fit, ate a healthy diet, but one day he went to the Doctor because of some pains he was having. That led to another Doctor, and another and he was diagnosed with a rapidly moving and deadly cancer. His only hope, really, was a miracle. A short time after he got his diagnosis, he emailed a colleague of mine these profound words. He wrote, “I had an interesting conversation with a University of Pennsylvania chemo nurse today. She said they treat several hundred patients each week. I asked her if she got to know the patients. She said, ‘Definitely.’ I said, ‘I imagine many don’t make it,’ and she said, ‘That’s correct,’ and she’d talked about how it was the hardest when people who she thought had time went suddenly. She’s been a nurse for 15 years, 10 years working with cancer patients. I was surprised to learn from her that many terminal cancer patients don’t face the reality that they may die, and stay in a state of, ‘It’s not going to happen to me.’ That reality surprised me and reminded me of something I read in a little book title, Tuesdays with Maury. It’s about a college professor who’s slowly dying of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. This professor meets with his former professor, Maury, each Tuesday to discuss various topics of life. In the chapter on death, he makes an interesting comment, ‘Everyone knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently. ’”

Let that sink in. “Everyone knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.” Chris wrote: “Something that’s really been made clear to me through my cancer experience is that I’m going to die. And so, when I think about what matters to me now, it is my relationships; my relationship with God through Jesus, and my relationships with my wife, my boys and with others. Beyond that, everything is trivial. It’s through this realization I am finding more meaning, joy, and excitement in my life with cancer, than I ever did when I didn’t know I had it. Believe it. Do things differently. Your friend, Chris.”

Chris’ miracle never came, he died at 37 but with his relational world intact. He got it. He got it about the fact that life is really about relationships.

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