Gratitude

I have so much to be thankful for. Recently I have often stopped and wondered if I have properly honored the my many blessings in my life. Especially the many people who have provided me so much in the way of love, wisdom, and friendship. As I head off to Houston today and prepare for surgery, and to cross the abyss to the other side, I want to be sure to mark as many of these blessings as I can.

How could I start anywhere other than Brooke. She is my rock. I cannot imagine this journey without her love and support by my side. In the last 4 weeks I have reflected upon our relationship, marriage, and Karma in this lifetime. And it has occurred to me that perhaps I have not always properly expressed my appreciation for this incredible women and all she brings to my life and our family. Marriage can be hard. Anything of value is hard work. I am always skeptical of anyone who claims otherwise. We have worked hard together. And I know I have not always been everything Brooke has wished, that I have fallen short in my commitments, and that I have not always had an awareness beyond my own needs. I know that I have at times been attached to desires or outcomes that in context of the bigger picture are minor at best. And through it all she has remained steadfast in her commitment to me. She continually goes the “extra mile” in service of others, and there is nothing she would not do for me or the children. Brooke is pure heart, and caring for those she loves is her greatest joy. I am calm and steady because I know that she is by my side. I love you Brooke, I am a better person with you in my life.

Our incredible three children. My teachers, inspiration, motivation, and joy. So similar and so different. Full of energy, light, and promise. Nothing can compare to the embrace of a loving child. Their love and trust nurtures me with every breath I take. The purity of their love and the faith they place in us as their parents is invigorating and humbling all at the same time. I derive incredible joy watching them blossom and grow, and I am enthralled as I watch their lives unfold each day at a time.

My brothers who are my blood. With whom I share many of life’s triumphs and sorrows. With whom I have journeyed from childhood through adulthood, through trauma, challenges, and celebrations. Both of whom will be supporting me and my family in Texas and Colorado as I make this journey. Both of whom support me with unconditional love.

Our extended family of grandparents, sister and brother-in-laws,  and cousins, who have all provided so much love and support, offered their time and presence in anyway needed, and are constantly supporting us with their prayers. And my “adopted” brother Jens who at a moments notice dropped everything and made the 18 hour drive to Texas and with whom I have ridden many miles in the last few weeks.

My/our community. So loving and available, so willing and eager to help and support us in any way we ask. We have always felt a strong sense of community and many good friendships. And yet we have both been humbled and full of gratitude over the last 4 weeks by all the many people who have reached out both near and far. Current and old friends. Cancer is an incredible disease, immediately opening hearts and tapping into a collective empathy. “There by the grace of God go I”. We are all vulnerable, we will all travel the path of sickness and death. We all need each other. It is amazing how many different ways friends have expressed their love and support, a hug, a meal at just the right time, a book, a memento, call, text, email. The last 4 weeks have offered so many gifts in my/our, connections to others. My only regret is that I have not had more time to spend with each and every person who has reached out, prayed for us, or made large and small gestures.

This human experience is defined by the relationships and connections we make. None of the material objects transcend our death, we cannot take any of the accolades or achievements with us, and few will remember us by what we did. We will be remembered by who we were, the quality of our person, our integrity, our generosity and love towards those close to us and to our fellow men and women. Having cancer has stripped away the veneer that often exists between ourselves and others, immediately opening a presence and accessing a heart space that is often cloaked in the everyday stress and activities of life. It has truly been a gift to connect so deeply and authentically to so many. And for that I have immense gratitude for all who have reached out to offer support, shared their stories, and expressed their love.

And of course our incredible menagerie of animals, 2 cats and 2 dogs, who show up every day and provide unconditional love without expectations or wanting. What an excellent model for all of us humans, to give freely of oneself without expectation of something in return.

So I offer my deeply felt gratitude to all who have and continue to bring so much to our lives. You are my family, my teachers, my friends. I am grateful and honored to be a part of your lives. With love and blessings.

“At the center of the Universe is a loving

heart that continues to beat and that

wants the best for every person.

Anything we can do to help foster the

intellect and spirit and emotional growth

of our fellow human beings, that is our job.

Those of us who have this particular

vision must continue against all odds.

Life is for service.

– Fred Rogers

“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”

One thought on “Gratitude

  1. Andrew, I continue to be inspired at how you keep showing up to this invitation called Life. I hope I will have the courage to do the same when I am faced with a diagnosis or illness. Thank you for keeping your heart open and sharing your experience so generously. Bless you and your family on this next leg of the journey. I’ll be praying for you.

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