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Tonight we put up our Christmas tree, the first Ravella/Gilbert tree. Actually we have two trees. One is artificial. It is perfect. It has p...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Enough Time

Is there ever enough time? I wonder that sometimes. When we are at chemo I wonder if there is an age where you think, I have lived enough and it is fair that you are asked to die. Does someone who is 80 think I lived long enough, how about 70 or 60? Is it after you see your grandkids? Or do they need to get to 10 yrs old, maybe graduate High School. Is that when we say we are fair game for death to call on us. When does it become unfair? Surly 43 was unfair for Andrea. You can tell when you talk to people and they ask how old Andrea was when she got cancer. You answer 43 and then you hear it, the sucking in of air through closed teeth, the eyes squinted to signify the pain. The universal way to express, “Ouch, I’m sorry that happened to you.” But I have to think it is more than just a matter of enough time. It is what you do with your time. The examination of how we live our life should not be left for when death stands at your doorstep. Some of us will not be given the opportunity, if I can use that word, to examine our life and correct any wrong choices. You are not guaranteed time, it is all a gift. My advice, use it wisely and don't wait to live the life you always wanted. You could look at our four year struggle as a curse, but ask someone whose loved one was taken in a flash with no time for a goodbye.

Andrea and I have had the most blessed marriage and life together. I feel guilty at times even telling anyone. I told Andrea many years ago, “We have lived a thousand lifetimes. Most people wish for one month or one year of the happiness we have had for 24 years.” Truthfully sometimes I think if God was preparing me for this, when I had that thought. I know that what we have is beyond a good marriage, it is beyond a deep love, it is truly a miracle from God. We have never fought in 24 yrs of marriage, never raised our voice at each other or slammed a door on the other one. I don’t say this to brag at all, just to say God has already done a miracle in our life. This is nothing we do out of our own will power it is a gift from God. God brought us together and I know we met that night for a reason. You have heard me tell the story of our meeting at a red light. It really was love a first sight. It was as if all I could see that moment was Andrea, her eyes speaking to my very soul, “I am the one for you.” And my eyes saying the same thing back to her, our souls met first and fell in love. I loved her before I ever saw her get out of that car. I just knew she was for me. I really can’t explain that moment, but it brings a smile to me every time I think about it. To this day our love has been special, different than any I have ever seen. It is our gift. I still get butterflies thinking about her, then a nervousness in my stomach and my knees get weak. She is a part of me just as God intended for a man and a woman, and everyday we thank God for this gift. It never goes unappreciated.

Of course cancer inevitably makes you think of life and time leading to the question, have I had enough time with Andrea? Not if this life is all we have but I believe our life together will not end on this earth. I won’t try to explain what heaven will be like other than perfect, I just don’t know what perfect means outside of this human body, but I believe I will see and know Andrea there. And I look forward to see her beautiful smile, that smile that comes from her eyes as much as her mouth. It is the definition of a warm smile one that goes right through me and calms my every fear, answers my every question and lets me know it will all be okay.

Time, sure I wish we had more. I suspect I will always wish I had more time with Andrea. But now I wish we had more time to serve God together. That is one area I feel I have wasted time with Andrea. I spent many years hording Andrea and meeting my own desires. I did not see the real reason God gave me such an opportunity to live with a blessing like Andrea. It was not so my life would be easy, but it was to lead her into God’s will for her life. There we would find a greater joy than I ever imagined. Far beyond what I had when I monopolized her time. There was a day in 2006 I won’t ever forget. We had pulled into the driveway at our home in North Carolina. I put the car in park and just sat there. Then I felt God say to me “Let Andrea go.” I looked over at her and told her “Andrea I have to let you go.” At first I thought God was asking me to let her go as in life and death, to release her healing as the focus of my desire. But that was not it; it was let her go, release her to God. I had been holding her back in a selfish way. God had blessed Andrea with gifts He intended to use for His glory and I had kept them for myself. He was telling me let Him use his creation. Let her go and I will show you a love you have never dreamed of.

It was true; as I let Andrea go my love for her grew deeper. My pleasure in life increased, my joy and my fulfillment in my marriage was greater. My life was so much better. My relationship with my creator grew deeper as well. Everything about my life was better. Now I look back and regret that I wasted all though years trying to control what gave me happiness thinking if I released control somehow life would not be as good. What a lie. God’s way really is to bless us and not to harm us. If only we could really take that into our hearts we would find a joy beyond what we could ever think or imagine. My desire and prayer is that Andrea is given more time so she can serve her God as He intended and we could do this together. To live our life how God intended. To take this blessing of love we have and use it for God’s glory. Our gifts our talents and our blessings are not for us for we are the body of Christ, to be used for His glory. There you will find happiness far beyond any you have experienced before. I did.

Now my time might be limited; I pray God will use whatever time we have for His glory, and if possible grant us more time to live for Him. I have to say no matter how much time remains either for myself or Andrea we have lived a blessed life and these past two years have been more fulfilling than any other time in my life. I’m thankful to have been chosen and blessed in so many ways.

I want God to teach me to speak the words of Paul.

Philippians 1:20-21, 27,29

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.

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