Life is hectic for me. You’ve all heard me chat about it (like in every post! Give us a break!).
I’m a small business owner, attempting to write business, attempting to support my family. I’m also in the midst of the Relay For Life season. I’m also in the midst of putting together a Bark For Life. I’m also in the midst of putting together a newsletter for the elementary school. I’m also in the midst of running the Youth program at our church. I’m also in the midst of a few other groups (Chamber, LeTip) that need my attention and time. Oh and I’m also in the midst of pestering my brothers to be a part of a lip sync routine.
I don’t have time to pause and reflect (or at least don’t make time to pause and reflect).
But sometimes you need to, and for me the day to pause and reflect doesn’t come on my birthday, our anniversary, our kid’s birthdays or Valentine’s Day, it comes on April 7, the day my wife was diagnosed with leukemia.
Yes, it was eight years ago today that we heard the words, “You have cancer.” It was eight years ago today that what we thought was our complicated, stressful world came to a complete and sudden halt.
I think it’s fair to sit down and set aside some time to pause and reflect. It can help you put life in perspective (as does this video).
It allows you to not sweat the small stuff and it makes you frustrated that you do still sweat the small stuff. I thought we said we wouldn’t!
It makes you extremely thankful for the gifts in your life.
That 8-year-old son, who complains so often about being bored, or who is so emotional – OFTEN, but was just 5-months old when his mom was diagnosed and was such an inspiration in her fight.
That 4-year-old daughter, who persistently screams, “LOVE YOU!” 25 times in a row (no exaggeration), forcing you to scream back in frustration, “LOVE YOU LIA!” because she doesn’t want to fall asleep at night. Who on April 7, 2005 was an unlikely thought after the doctor informed us that it was likely we would never be able to have kids again. Geez, even as a zygote she was persistent and stubborn.
And the just-because-we-can, goofy 2-year-old son, whose toothy grin, silly chuckles and calm demeanor bring smiles to the dinner table.
The love of a wife, who for nearly 10 years has stood by me through all of the aforementioned projects I’ve involved myself (and often the rest of the Johnson 5 – and more) in. Who continues to laugh at my dorkiness (and accepts me for it too!). Who has been an inspiration to me since Day 1. Who is patient with me through my struggles and fantasy football and baseball. Who on April 7, 2005, we were just hoping she’d make it an extra 3-6 months.
Since it’s nearly 10 years I’ll wait to get mushy on you all!
The extra supportive Mom (or in Lis’s case mother-in-law), who went above and beyond her call of duty and continues to be super supportive through my new ventures, Relay, lip sync and helping Lis and I with the kids, when needed.
The family and friends that supported us then and continue to support us eight years later. And the friends and family that we have met since then that continue to support us.
It makes you thankful for the simple things that surround you – like the trees outside your window, the roof over your head, the rising river … life!
It makes you remember why you have faith in things people don’t always understand – like the power of prayer.
I’ve now sat here for 30 minutes writing, deleting, writing, deleting … you get the point. I don’t want to repeat things I’ve said every year for the last seven years. I don’t want to bore myself with nonsense or ramble on about how I don’t set aside time to think about the important things in life.
I’ll close by saying that this day, more than any other, changed my life. It taught me to grow up. It taught me to love what I have and not want things that don’t matter in the actual scheme of life. It taught me about friendship and family. It taught me about faith. It taught me that life is fragile. It taught me patience. It taught me humility. It taught me unselfishness. It taught me to be giving. It taught me to care more. It made me who I am today, which is a much better person than I was on April 6, 2005.
I’m not saying that I’m perfect in all of the ways above. God knows I struggle with all of the above at times, especially patience. I’m also not saying that I was a horrible person before this day.
I’m just saying that I need to remember this day more frequently. I need to pause and reflect on those gifts that are in my life and what they mean to me, more frequently. OK … I’m rambling.
I was telling the kids yesterday at lunch about Mom and her battle. Lia had a few questions and when Lukas asked me not to get into the bloody details, literally bloody details, I stopped and told them that one day I’ll present the three of them with a book (based on this journal) about their Mom’s fight. After all that’s why I ramble, to be able to share with them one day. Lukas, now hooked and reading his sixth or seventh Diary of a Wimpy Kid book asked if he could illustrate it. That might be fun!
Here is Lukas’s rendition of this picture taken April 7, 2005: