Tuesday was my first day back from a 10-day vacation. I checked my email from home on Monday night. I was met with 400 messages; many reminding me of projects to be completed, homework to be done in preparation for a business trip, etc. I went to bed feeling overwhelmed and awoke the next morning feeling the same way. Instead of getting up at my customary 4 a.m. to work out I stayed in bed. Not working out didn’t help my mood. Rather than skipping into the office feeling rested, I crawled in feeling like I needed another vacation. I was pitiful and in need of an attitude adjustment.
I carved out a couple of hours Tuesday afternoon to return phone calls. One was a call to someone out of state whom I’ve known for several years. She is poised and full of grace. I adore her.
She wanted to let me know she’s been diagnosed with cancer of the lungs, liver and bone. Her doctor advises her she may not live to see Christmas. She has decided she does not want the chemo that has been offered to her. I was not surprised when she told me she is not afraid. She is the epitome of calm. So calm in fact, I did not feel the least bit awkward asking her things such as, “Will you make sure someone calls me to make me aware of your condition when you are no longer able to communicate?” She talked about her prognosis with the ease I might have when talking about the weather. It was a great conversation.
Knowing this woman’s spiritual beliefs, I asked her if she is anxious to leave this world and be reunited with her husband who died several years ago. She said, “You know, I just wake up every morning and I ask God to show me how to be of service, just for today.” She had no way of knowing God was using her in that moment to be of service to me. She gave me the attitude adjustment I so desperately needed. How dare I get caught up in my petty problems while someone who is dying only looks for ways to serve?
She gave me strict orders that she doesn’t want sympathy cards or any other correspondence that’s filled with gloom or doom. “Send me cards that will make me laugh,” she advised.
I plan to send her funny cards on a regular basis. But first I must write her to let her know about the service God let her perform on Tuesday.