In that moment when you come face to face with your own mortality you touch eternity. You are given a glimpse of everything from God’s perspective. What matters most becomes clear.
This happened to me one day in August sitting on the examining table listening to my doctor. She recited several statistics while typing on her computer keyboard, “You have an x percent chance of being alive in 10 years without cancer if you do this, this and this. But if you do this, this and this, your chances improve to x %.”
I didn’t hear much more of what she said. Sitting there, stunned, I realized that until my diagnosis of breast cancer I had been conducting my life with the attitude of a 100% chance of being alive in 10 years without cancer. Suddenly my own mortality hit me squarely in the face. I was going to die.
Of course we are all going to die. We know it. We talk about it. Yet we are in a state of denial until something like a cancer diagnosis makes it all too real, and sudden, and too soon.
After taking a deep breath and shaking off the shock, I told her my choice was to do all the things that provided me with the highest percentage in her computer charts. And so my treatment began. Immediately following my diagnosis I clung to survivor stories, refusing to listen to anything but.
I will spare you the details of the next 7 years. Suffice it to say surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, anemia, weakened immune system; a nasty attack of shingles and rapidly advancing arthritis were stages in my battle back to health. Thankfully my journey leads to this statement - I am a 7-year survivor of breast cancer.
As time progressed, the cloud of cancer that followed me everywhere began to shrink and fall back a bit. They say the 5 year mark is an important milestone, but I couldn’t celebrate my good fortune. My neighbor went in for her 5 year checkup only to discover the breast cancer had returned. She lost her battle not long afterward.
I waited 2 more years before stepping forward to offer this story. I made it 7 years. I hope to make it many more. As time goes by I have moments where I slip back into that old 100% attitude and have to readjust my thinking. None of us get that “100%.” None of us know what the future will bring. We all think we have time.
My cancer battle brought many silver linings including a stronger relationship with God, and a better appreciation of what’s important. Touching eternity forced me to explore one important question in much greater depth than ever before. Where will I spend eternity?
If you ask yourself this same question and draw a blank, I pray you will reach out to God and have a conversation. Try to see things from his perspective. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
Have faith and touch eternity.