We have learned during this past year that the challenges in life stretch us in ways that are uncomfortable and sometimes even painful, but it has also been in these dark and uncertain times where we have been able to unearth some of life’s biggest nuggets. A nugget is a life-changing lesson. Some nuggets are bigger than others. What we’ve also learned is that we have a choice, each and every day, about what we want to do with these nuggets.
In the past, when I have been blessed with a nugget, some deep and meaningful life lesson, I acknowledged it with excitement, stared at it for a moment or two, maybe shared it with a friend, and then put it deep inside my pocket where it was soon forgotten. Some nuggets I have thought I would need at a later time in life. Some nuggets I thought were inspiring, but meant for someone else. Some nuggets were too big to know how to embrace and others were too small to matter. All just collected dust for a rainy day, filed in some drawer in a shoebox labeled “Cool Quotes and Life Lessons”.
The first half of this book contains wonderful, tried and true recipes from many of you. The second half of this book is about life, about learning how to hold life’s nuggets in the palm of your hand, and how to incorporate them into every day of your life. This is how we grow. This is how we understand what matters.
It took a life-threatening illness to open my eyes. I don’t look at my cancer as a gift. But, if someone could take it away, I would have to think twice about allowing that to happen. So much goodness and peace has come into my life this past year, which is a gift I would not want to give back and would deeply miss sharing.
Earlier this year I was in graduate school and getting chemo at the same time. Another gift. Through my academic thesis, I discovered that there were 7 components to a meaningful life. Coincidentally, these were the very nuggets that shined the brightest during my year of letting go.
So here’s the basic recipe for a meaningful life (in no particular order):
Gratitude…for everything! Acceptance… of your circumstances, of others, and of yourself! A Positive Attitude…that is a choice you make every day! Living with Intention…which means making conscious choices, plans and goals!
Faith and Spirit-Filled Living…that surpasses understanding! Love and Relationships…with family, friends and humanity! Charity and Contribution…be sure that the world is a better place because you are here!
This long journey called cancer, summarized on these pages, details how our family has embraced these 7 components of a meaningful life. They have manifested themselves in my husband and me, and even in our children, in ways that are not easy to explain. Perhaps the stories we tell will show you how we discovered these nuggets and how we use them in our lives. Perhaps you can use some of them in your own life.
With Love & Gratitude, Diane Wife, mom, friend, daughter, cancer survivor
“It appears that I will survive. But the question is whether I will live… “