It’s been six years now. Six years of borrowed time.
2,190 days since dad was diagnosed with cancer. Ten short months had passed since we had lost Mama. It seemed we were just starting to regain our footing a bit.
There’s no such thing as a good cancer. Everyone knows that. But pancreatic cancer carries with it some rather chilling statistics.
Fortunately statistics are not the boss of us. I remember one of Mama’s doctors telling us he didn’t like statistics because a 20% survival rate only really meant that 20 people actually had a 100% chance of surviving. And he really couldn’t tell us if Mama would be in the group of 20 or the group of 80.
Dad happens to be in the lower end of a statistical handful. He went through a grueling procedure and months of chemo that zapped his strength for a time.
He was part of the less than 30% who survived that first year mark. And the less than 7% who survived the 5 year mark. That 5 year mark? It was a year ago.
And today? Today he heads to Nairobi and Sudan for a mission trip with a group from his church.
And next month? Well next month he takes the last set of the 8 grandkid cousins who have grown up on US soil to Russia and Czech Republic for 17 days. They tromp around the country where their 3 cousins have grown up, teaching English and sharing the love of Christ. It’s a rite of passage for the 16 year old cousins. One he started the summer after we lost mom.
It’s how he’s chosen to spend some of this borrowed time he’s been given.
Mom and Dad always taught us that God is good. This grace of borrowed time is an extra. A cherry on the top, if you will. I can’t begin to understand why sometimes we are graced with these special days and other times we are not. But I do know that either way, God is good.
And every 6 – 12 months of these years, my brother, sister and I get a text. It’s almost like clockwork. It brings that sort of deep exhale you didn’t even realize you needed, because you had unknowingly been holding your breath.
He’s so much more than a survivor. He’s a 75 year old embrace-life-believer on the cusp of yet another adventure with this borrowed time he’s been given.
It’s a bit of a wake up call for me. In light of this 6th anniversary text, it’s a reminder to spend the moments of each day more wisely. With less no and more yes. Less regret and more delight. Less frustration and more embracing.
Because really, when it comes right down to it, were all living on borrowed time aren’t we?