Five years ago this month, after much contemplation, I took a leap of faith and started blogging, with the commitment to faithfully post each week. Thus, Forward Motion: Moving Beyond What Holds You Back was born.
Sometimes, producing content is easy. An idea sparks and words flow from my mind through my fingertips to the keyboard effortlessly. But there are other weeks when I sit staring at a blank computer screen with only a few hours left in the day, and wonder how I will produce meaningful words that inspire and encourage.
Most of today has been one of those blank screen days, after learning early this morning of the death of my cousin, Bob, who is very dear to me. That knowledge simultaneously fills me with joy and sadness. I rejoice because I know his suffering is over and he is in heaven with the Eternal One, and all the saints who have gone before him. Yet, I grieve the loss of his presence and pray for his family, and extended family, as they, and we, adjust.
Death is inevitable, but we often hold the thought at arm’s length, a distant not-thinking-about-that-now topic until it is in-our-faces real. Death is part of life. How we face death and handle it determines whether we move forward or allow it to shut us down.
How we face death and handle it determines whether we move forward or allow it to shut us down.
I learned a lot from Bob, more than I can possibly enumerate. We had in common family, church, real estate, and management of family land. Bob and Ruthi were our newlywed Sunday School teachers over forty years ago. Our families sat together on Wednesday nights at church suppers. We are relatives, but also friends. But before adulthood, Bob was kind to me as a child, playing with me at family gatherings when he was a teen, and I was not.
I learned the most from Bob in the last 9 years as he battled cancer. His example serves as a reminder to all of us when facing life challenges.
Sometimes, when a person receives a terminal diagnosis, they adopt a woe-is-me attitude, drop out of everything, and wait for life to end. Bob did just the opposite. If anything, Bob swung into high gear, always on the move as he juggled multiple jobs and responsibilities. He took cancer in stride, telling me last year, “The doctors keep pushing it (cancer) back. Then it runs ahead of us and they push it back again. One day, it won’t push back, but while treatment works, I’m going to keep living.”
Can’t we all benefit from that attitude? No matter how hard, unfair, challenging, or heartbreaking our circumstances, let’s live life with a positive attitude that supersedes hardship, sustains motivation, and supports forward motion.
No matter how hard, unfair, challenging, or heartbreaking our circumstances, let’s live life with a positive attitude that supersedes hardship, sustains motivation, and supports forward motion.
At times, we take friends and family for granted. The urgency of hectic schedules and multiple demands cloud our perception of what is truly important and precious. As you travel life’s journey, don’t fail to give and receive love, to make time for others, stay in touch, and cultivate relationships. Contact childhood friends. Forgive those who have wounded you. Call, write, or visit those who have been an important part of your life, but with whom you’ve lost contact. Be silly with grandchildren. Or as Bob often did, show them a magic trick or pull a quarter our of their ear.
Your kind and loving words and gestures encourage and support, and they will not be forgotten.
I’m thankful I grew up in a family that placed importance on serving God and mankind, but also serving quietly, without desire for recognition.
Bob’s later-in-life career was serving as a minister of pastoral care. He ministered with all his might, visiting in hospitals, praying, singing, and teaching in care facilities, visiting the homebound, comforting grieving families, conducting funerals, and leading prayer service. Often, I’m sure he didn’t have the energy for some of those activities, but he faithfully served.
Sometimes, we think service requires great sacrifice, and sometimes it does. But often, small acts and quiet words have the greatest impact on the lives of others.
Keep the Faith
Faith is the anchor that grounds us amid life’s storms, yet many discount faith as antiquated and unnecessary. Bob knew the value of placing his faith and trust in the Creator and Sustainer of life, the One who numbers our days, and assures our eternity. Even as his life ebbed, Bob’s faith remained strong and secure.
So how would you approach death if you knew the time frame was short? Would you keep living, loving, serving, and trusting? Does your life present a positive example for others to model? Bob’s life did. May it be so for all of us.
“So we have no reason to despair. Despite the fact that our outer humanity is falling apart and decaying, our inner humanity is breathing in new life every day. You see, the short-lived pains of this life are creating for us an eternal glory that does not compare to anything we know here. So we do not set our sights on the things we can see with our eyes. All of that is fleeting; it will eventually fade away. Instead, we focus on the things we cannot see, which live on and on” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 VOICE).
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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