April 25.

Well my friends, we’ve come to the end of the journey.  It’s been an amazing, life-altering, incredibly meaningful journey.  And wow, have we helped others along the way.  Together, we have made a difference.
On Monday, I will share the final campaign total raised on behalf of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  As of today, however, here is where we stand as a team: (RECORD BREAKING NUMBER) $213,000!  This would not have been possible without you, without your faithful and generous support.  THANK YOU for your non-stop donations!  You have given selflessly and made a tremendous impact in the lives of so many others.  You know…those people with whom you are connected in this journey of life, whether you realized it before now or not.
So here is the part where I warn you:  this is the last one.  Therefore, I hope you have some time because there’s a whole lotta verbose ahead.  Now, that statement reminds me of the title of an AC/DC song, which then, in turn, reminds me of one of my all-timefavorite ‘80’s songs (hey, don’t judge – who doesn’t love ‘80’s metal music?).  Here I Go Again by Whitesnake (again with the judging thing!).  To this day, I belt out its first verse aloud EVERY TIME I hear it:
I don’t know where I’m going, but I sure know where I’ve been
I am filled with a few nerves, elation, gratefulness, and a jillion other adjectives that would somehow diminish the entire experience if I went on.  So I won’t – at least not yet.  This is the last post until after the gala and then I promise there will be one final entry filling you in on Friday night’s festivities, including all associated real-time emotions.  (And pictures…lots of pictures).
For now, let me share not only some of my favorite music, but some of my favorite quotes.  I know, I know, this can be super annoying when people throw them out there, in a totally unoriginal and plagiaristic way.  But hopefully these will resonate with you on some level, as there is Rhyme and Reason to my verbose.  I do get there eventually when I go on with the talky-talk. 
If there is one thing which has been harder for me than anything else in my life on a recurring basis it’s this:  realizing it’s is not about the destination. 
Instead, it’s about every step and even more so, every misstep and difficult experience along the way.  It’s about what we choose to do with those steps once we learn from them.  It’s about how we’ll walk the next time we find ourselves or others in those same shoes…

“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it. –John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley:  In Search of America (um, yeah)

 “I am no longer afraid of becoming lost, because the journey back always reveals something new, and that is ultimately good for the soul.”   –Billy Joel (mostly)

The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that.”  –Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth  (READ THIS BOOK, even as an adult!)

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” –Heraclitus

So there you have it.  We don’t control the journey.  We have choices to make along the way as we encounter both smooth roads and bumpy, bumpy terrain.  And we should absolutely positively relish everything in between – including and especially the changes in ourselves from traveling the distance.

I don’t know where I’m going after this campaign but I sure know where I’ve been.  You see, the thing is, I no longer need to know.   None of us do.  Enjoy the ride and thank you again for coming along on this journey with us over these last 10-weeks.

The Time Is Now.

One final quote.  (Fine, it’s an article but to be fair, I did warn you).  This has been in a frame since it was given to me from the one man who’s known me longer than any other.  Thanks, Dad.  See you tomorrow.

The Station By Robert J. Hastings

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision.  We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent.  We are traveling by train.  Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination.  On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station.  Bands will be playing and flags waving.  Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle.  How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering – waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

”When we reach the station, that will be it!” we cry.  “When I’m 18.” “When I buy a new 450SL Mercedes Benz!” “When I put the last kid through college.” “When I have paid off the mortgage!” “When I get a promotion.” “When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live happily ever after!”

Sooner or later we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all.  The true joy of life is the trip.  The station is only a dream.  It constantly outdistances us.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad.  It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow.  Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles.  Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less.  Life must be lived as we go along.  The station will come soon enough.