This past week I had the opportunity once again to share a message for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Kick Off. I thought I’d just share with you a few words of that message. It’s basically things I’ve learned and what we can take with us from the deep valley. Life is hard . . . so possibly there’s something that may encourage you and I know there are things I can learn from you!
I am grateful to say that I am a breast cancer survivor of about 2 1/2 years. I’d like to spend a moment talking to you about Courage and Perseverance.
The definition of courage is the ability to do something that frightens one or strength in the face of pain or grief.
Whether you’ve had cancer, a loved one has had cancer, or maybe you’ve lost a loved one to this awful disease, or maybe you have faced a traumatic, sorrowful or heartbreaking event in your life . . . you have had to exercise courage and perseverance.
These last two years have been the most difficult in my life and it’s wasn’t the cancer. In fact, during my cancer treatment and beyond, I felt pretty strong although there were times of weakness. I felt supported and lifted up by many of you. For that, I am deeply grateful. I did have to practice courage and perseverance.
There were other events that took place in my life that I had to come face to face with fear and deep grief. There are or will be things in life that we face that will challenge and touch us so deeply! Things that may break our hearts and sometimes may even break our spirit. We may wonder if our hearts can continue to beat because the emotional pain is so great, we can literally feel our body reacting to the stress and grief.
Maybe you’ve felt this way if you’ve lost a loved one, or you’ve been betrayed or hurt by another in an unimaginable way. Whatever it might be . . . there are three things that I’ve learned through this difficult journey.
- Don’t isolate yourself. There’s a great temptation to do so! Please don’t. We were made for relationship. We learn from one another. Two is better than one! And this is part of the reason we are here together!
- Choose to learn something from the Valley; whether it be empathy or newly found strength, you can put that to good use to help another!
- Never ever give up! Without hope, people perish! There are times when people may even kick you when you’re down or you feel there’s very little chance of making it through the difficult valley. You may fall down, you may stumble, you may feel like you’re on your last ounce of strength; BUT don’t give up! You may be just around the corner from the beautiful meadow that leads from the valley!
The important thing is to GET BACK UP! There can be purpose in the pain!
I want to encourage you today . . . as we pledge to make a difference (on August 22nd, 2015 at the Laguna Niguel Relay for Life) . . .
- Don’t isolate yourself – we need one another!
- Choose to learn something from your experiences!
- Never ever give up when you are facing the mountains in front of you because LIFE IS A GIFT!
Remember that you can make a difference for another . . .
- For someone who is fighting for their life
- For one that has lost a loved one
- For another that may need the encouragement and experience only you have to offer!
So as we move forward . . . a crowd that is big or small . . . our efforts and contributions can bring encouragement to another to persevere, to have strength and courage and can bring a great light of tangible HOPE!
I will leave you with a short inspiring video to illustrate the above three points and to encourage you to support one another to finish the race. (Let’s remember this as we walk on August 22nd).
Will you join us on this day . . . in Laguna Niguel, CA at Laguna Niguel Middle School from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. I’ll be sharing, we will be gathering, enjoying each other’s company and walking for a cause. It’s a wonderful day!