Monday, December 5, 2011

Yeah but if you die...

Kendra and I have a life. I know it's hard to believe but we really do, or we did... before cancer.

Every one of us makes decisions every day. Some bigger than others. What will I wear? What route to go to work? What do to tonight? What car to buy? What vacation to go on and when? Whether to have kids? How many and when? When and where to buy a house? We all make tons of decisions.

Kendra and I have to make decisions as well. Many of our decision are the same as yours. However one of the toughest parts about the cancer is making decisions.

We've mentioned before that Kendra and I had plans to start a major addition on our house, which ideally would have been in progress right now. We had just finalized blueprints a couple weeks before we were diagnosed (and then subsequently Kendra was laid off). We do love our place. It's 10 acres with a small house and set up for horses. We are in the country, and can't see any of our neighbors (I ran out to the car the other day in my underwear). However when we bought our tiny house it was just Kendra and I. Now Colton has joined us and our "stuff" has quadrupled. We knew it would't last forever and we began planning and making decisions.

Before cancer it was easy (relatively).

Since diagnosis we have put the plans on hold. However we still like to talk about the addition once in a while. It gives us a tangible thing to look forward to. "When we can build the house, we'll be through this mess." It also represented the fulfillment of many family dreams and goals. A house that would allow us to grow into it with kids, all sorts of children...our own, adopted, foster, whatever the Lord would bless us with. A place to host friends and family and grow deeper in relationships. A house is just sticks and nails. I know that now more than anything. But the dreams that went alongside it, of growing older together, raising a family, and living a normal life, are something we struggle with feeling like it has been violently ripped away from us.

So Kendra and I were driving down the road the other day, and I said something like, "When we build the house then we can..." Kendra replied, "yeah, but if you die..."

And there it was again! Bam, like a gunshot cancer is back in the discussion. I can't get away from it. It permeates my life. It's impossible to make a decision without it playing a factor. We both need to buy different cars, desperately.  They have seriously high miles and both of them visit the mechanic more often than a car should. But again, the debilitating question of "what if" torpedoes the whole conversation and pretty much makes it impossible to decide.  Should I buy a truck for a bigger family? Should I even get something different at all? But what if I die? Should Kendra buy a car because she commutes so far? But what if I die and she needs something four-wheel drive for herself?  What if?

We're held captive by that question. It would be foolish to deny the reality of our situation. Anything involving money is now a major decision, whether it be as minor as a new vehicle, or as major as finishing this property the way we intended to when we bought it.  I can't fathom leaving my wife with major expenses to take care of by herself.


However it keeps me grounded. I'm a dreamer. So to have my wings grounded from dreaming is so difficult for me. I feel like the wind has been knocked out of me a little bit everytime I hear that statement.  I have had to learn to be content with the here and now, and wait on the Lord. What God has provided for me today is sufficient. It's like my own weird sort of manna. I can't collect more than today's. However God will provide for all my needs. If houses or cars are truly needs, then I trust that God will provide. I must be content with that.

The other thing we're learning is at some point we have to take risks sometimes. Kendra and I booked a vacation four months ago for the future not knowing how I would be feeling. Would I even be able to go? This was before our "good" scans and so it was a very real possibility that cancer would be spreading and I would be going downhill.

If we didn't book it until everything lined up perfectly with all our criteria before we planned and made the decision, we'd never be able to pull the trigger. So we took a risk. It worked out. I feel great. When we go on vacation I should be feeling great. It won't always work though. That's okay. God still provides, even when I take a risk and it doesn't work out, God provides.

We should all look at life through the lens of, "what if I die?" It will keep you from selfish, frivolous escapades and endeavors. It will focus you on what is truly important and significant. It is painful, but it is good. When you learn to be content with what you have today, and remove the selfish ambitions from your plans, you will be at peace, and so am I.


Anonymous said...

Ryan I could die today we all could, you have a bigger hill to climb than most of us but you still have life to live. Please don't stop dreaming and planning, God can take this cancer away as quickly as it came. You are a wonderful young man who has touched so many lives, God is not finished with you yet.

Lee said...

No one is promised tomorrow. The reality of that would change us if we allowed it to.....the blessing of this is that you and Kendra have allowed (are allowing) it to buff you in every direction. That refinement is bringing greater clarity to all of us and is a fragrant offering. We are grateful to walk beside.

Mimi / Barbara Lockwood said...

I love reading what you write. It fills me.

You have every answer you will ever need in the three words you repeated here over and over....

God WILL provide...........

DAVID HAAS said...

I have a question about your blog. Please email me!

stephanie garcia said...

Thank you for this post, but especially that final paragraph. What a powerful reminder.