A few weeks ago, I was at work, and one of my regular customers entered the lobby. I left my office and went to speak to Mr. John Doe (name has been changed for privacy reasons). I gave Mr. Doe a hug and asked how he’s been because it had been a while since I’d seen him. Mr. Doe said that he’d been given the diagnosis of having terminal cancer. I gave my apologies. He said for me not to apologize because he’s lived a good life. He said he was at peace and ready to be with God whenever the last breath left his body.
I was shocked and told him that I had never in my forty-four years of living heard anyone say that. He told me his reason why. His why was a promise he’d made to God over fifty years ago. Mr. Doe was drafted for the Vietnam war. At the time, his wife was pregnant with their son and was expected to deliver any moment. He was granted permission to stay at home for three months with her and the baby. He said during those three months that some of the people he knew from his hometown were killed in the war. When the time came for him to leave, he said he didn’t want to leave his wife, his new baby, and was afraid of the possibility of him losing his life as well. Mr. Doe told me that he prayed before he left. He said that he asked God if He would allow him to go to war and return back safely that he’d serve Him to the day he died. He said that was a promise that he kept. That was why he was at peace with his soon to be death.
His story really did something to me. I began to reflect over my life. I haven’t been to war, but I’ve had things that been earth shattering to my soul, moments that made me feel as if the wind had been knocked out my chest, and days and nights I’ve cried nonstop. I’ve experienced hurt that I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel. I’ve been lied on. I’ve asked God why did I have to endure those things and wondered if the truth would ever be revealed. During some of these moments, I became stressed and depressed. I couldn’t understand the why. Recently in prayer, God let me know that we might not always understand why some people do the things they do. I needed to quit stressing over things such as trying to understand those types of people. God wouldn’t let me give up. He gave me strength to keep going, to hang on, and share my testimony with someone else that might be going through something similar. I want people to know that no matter how hard it gets to never give up.
This June, I went to Jamaica for my birthday. A lot of people asked me was I afraid of going internationally alone. I wasn’t because I was at peace within my spirit. There were several eventful things that happened that I could have let ruin my trip. Before I even left Memphis, I almost left my paperwork in my truck that I would have needed to enter the country. I almost missed my first flight . I’d left my paperwork for the covid test in my room that I needed in order to get back into the US. One healthcare worker didn’t want to let me sit and wait. Another one of the healthcare workers allowed me to stay, and she squeezed me in between other travelers that were prepared. I’d hired someone to take my pictures on the beach, but the photographer didn’t show up. After waiting over an hour, I asked a random worker from the resort if he’d take them. Despite all the hiccups, God showed me favor the entire trip. I went into more detail in my July blog in case you missed it. I could have let those things ruin my trip if I’d dwelt on it negatively. Instead, I went with the flow. My goal is to shift my mindset whenever a situation arises. It could be this, BUT it can also be that. Think the quantum theory we were taught growing up in our science class. It says for every negative, there is a positive. That’s the outlook I’m trying to live in my life.
I bring up Jamaica for this reason.. I, too, said a prayer to God. It was my last day there in Jamaica that I gave God complete control over some situations going on in my life that were becoming overwhelming. In life, there are going to be sadness, heartaches and disappointments. I was going to my therapist and praying to God to help me endure. While I was there, I told God that I could not fix these situations. I said I can not understand everything that I am going through, but I put all the situations in His hand. I know that if I put the situations in His hands. I would have to stop trying to fix it and know that He would take care of me and the situations. I gave it all to Him on that day. Just a much as the trip was pleasure, it was spiritual and therapeutic trip as well
I know we’ve all heard the saying that life is short. It really is. We can be here today and be gone tomorrow. Think about it. There are people that you talked to on the phone and a few days later that person was gone from here on earth. We were unable to prepare for that person’s death. We are left shocked and hurting because of the quick demise. Sometimes, we have a family member or friend that is diagnosed with an illness as Mr Doe. The person is only given a few months to live. What do we do with that time? Do we sit and wonder what about the things that we should have done or could have done? Do we reflect on life and think about all things we’ve accomplished? Do we think about relationships we have with our friends and loved ones? What we could have done to make it better or to improve it? Do we think about and ask ourselves did we live our life to the best of our ability?
Here’s something else. Sometimes, we get caught up on wondering what other people will say about us if we do a certain thing. I can’t lie. In this past, this was something that I struggled with on a regular basis. Thanks be to God, I no longer care. I wondered if I wore this would I be criticized. If I said a certain thing and voiced me opinion about a situation, what will society think of me? We cannot control what people say about us. We cannot control what people think about us, but we can control how we respond to those things. We have to learn to not give people power and control over our lives. People will always have something to say. If we’re happy, they’ll say that it’s no way that person can be that happy. They’re just pretending. If we’re sad, they’ll say why are they sad. What’s wrong with them? They need to move on and quit being sad. That’s why we can’t get caught up on the opinions of others.
Life is truly short. It doesn’t matter if you made a promise to God. It doesn’t matter if you could care less what people say or do about you. It doesn’t matter if you have someone spreading lies on you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been through a bitter divorce. It doesn’t matter if you have lost friends that you thought would always be there for you. It doesn’t matter if you lost the job that you thought you’d retire from one day. I’m not saying those things aren’t meaningful. Nor am I saying that those things won’t bother you. I’m saying that you can’t quit living life when those things happen. Don’t get caught on people. Don’t give them your peace that you have worked hard to get to that place. Time is something that we can not get back. How we spend our time is important. We don’t want to reflect back on our lives and think of the should, woulda, and coulda’s. We need to live our lives to the fullest. We need to live our life with no regrets. Do what’s best for you and no one else!!!!! I want to be just like Mr. Doe and be at peace within myself and my spirit when my time here on earth is coming to an end. At the end of the day, you only have one life to live. Make sure you’re making the best of it.