My new friend went in for a cholesterol check and came out with cancer.
“Yeah, strange deal,” he said. “Went in to see the doctor for an routine update on my cholesterol numbers and he asks me if cancer runs in my family.”
Life, it seems, was shuffling the cards on my friend.
“After a quick check he sends me off to a specialist and suddenly I’ve got aggressive prostate cancer.”
This entire conversation is occurring as my new friend and I are cycling along city streets with a group of others. His eyes are bright, his voice strong. Thick black glasses frame a face of someone in perfect health. Amazingly, he might just have his brush with cancer in his rear view mirror.
“Gotta say though, this whole deal changed how I look at life.”
A musician by trade – and heart – you’d never know a short while ago he was looking for a way back to normal. A successful artist with several albums behind him and now doing independent music, he’s discovering life through a new set of lenses.
His voice pattern breaks as we begin climbing a hill surrounded by thick, overhanging trees.
“Kind of makes you put things into perspective. Forces you to ask yourself what do I enjoy in life?”
For him, it provided an opportunity for transformation.
“I figured I could be depressed or use it to inspire me,” he said.
As we continued our ride, he spoke of his love for life, music, and a woman in his life.
“I care very much for her,” he said, his emotions leaking into his words.
While life is generally unpredictable, it is most predictable in the fact of how it will periodically place us at the fork of road and invite us to uncomfortably reexamine ourselves. What makes us tick, what makes us happy, and how do we want to get there? The entire process, surprisingly, many times yields a newfound clarity for those facing these moments.
The impetus can be cancer, but it can also be a loss of a loved one or change in employment. Life is always fluid with plenty of opportunities for us to reevaluate ourselves — inviting us to focus on what really matter to us most. The challenge is, however, to have the courage to go through the many times unpleasant self-examination and come out stronger and with an increased clarity of our personal purpose.
The incline begins to flatten as we approach the crest of the hill, revealing a spacious area ahead. As we turn to the west the sun begins to drop beneath the tree line, illuminating the sky in warm hues of red and orange. The world, from this vantage point is beautiful.
My new friend smiles easily as we pedal along. Secretly, I envy what he is seeing. While I know we are both riding in the same direction, I know he is seeing a much different world, one of clarity, one of value, and one where he will never again carelessly spend a moment of his life.
– 30 –