With age, I have sensed a shift in what is important to me. Over time, I’ve noticed that acquiring possessions has lost its luster. The pursuit of wealth has become meaningless. Moving up life’s ladder of success as defined by society no longer holds much appeal. It was a rather gradual shift that played out over several years. Then I was diagnosed with a rare and incurable cancer this past winter. That day changed everything. Not only was my physical health, even my life in danger, but so was the future I was building for myself and my family. The mental impact of that diagnosis was far more difficult to manage than the physical implications. But as I worked through the mind game that cancer played with me, I emerged on the other side of the struggle with a much clearer view of my life, not only in the present, but the future.
I recently heard a song that said, “Time is all we have, and I am just collecting.” That’s what I have become; a collector. A collector of experiences, memories and cherished time spent with my family and friends. I am much more interested in doing things than buying things; in making memories than making deposits in my bank account. I embrace time with my wife and sons and with dear friends, sharing life together. I long to do things I haven’t done and go places I haven’t been. I desire to be intimately connected to my God and truly know Him like never before. I have a clear focus on being intentionally aware of each day, each hour, each moment even and not let anything slip past me unnoticed and unappreciated. Each moment now holds value like a rare treasure.
As the same song went on to say, “We are like ice in water,” here for a moment, then the moment is gone. As long as I’m here, whether that be long or short, I don’t want to waste a moment. I want to breathe in deeply the fullness that life has to offer, a fullness that I have often overlooked in pursuit of meaninglessness. I want to experience each day as something special, like it will never come my way again. Because it won’t.
I’m doing very well now. But I’m grateful for the struggles in my life for they have removed the blinders from my eyes. My life is different now. Better? No doubt. Uncertain? Yes. But I’ve realized it was never certain. As I have said since my diagnosis, I have new eyes, new perspectives and a full heart. I now live each moment fully aware and fully awake. I have to. Because now I’m a collector!