Alas, the time has come.  My Mom used to tell me that the way to know you were officially old was when it felt as if you could no longer control the time.  When a day was a week, when a week turned into a month, when a month became an entire season, and then…a whole year passes by, all in the blink of an eye.

That might have been the only “Mom thing” she was wrong about.
You see, it’s not that the feeling isn’t accurate.  Most days absolutely feel like there is never enough time to get everything done, to fit everything in before crashing and rising to go grind again the next day.  But like everything, it’s all about perspective and purpose.  Are we stopping along the way to simply take it all in, to be in the moment, and give thanks?  What are we choosing to do with the same 24 hours we are each allotted?
In less than 60 hours, the LLS gala will be underway.  As you know, that evening is a culmination of an unbelievable amount of effort, dedication, and commitment by individuals in our community who choose to make a difference in the lives of others. 
That special and emotional evening is both a celebration and a reminder that each one of us has only a pre-determined amount of time on this earth.  And some of that time might be in sickness.  We were not put here with a promise of everything always being easy, or for our own happiness to trump that of anyone else’s.  Much to the contrary, in fact.  We were put here to be in relationship with God and one another, all the while giving thanks in everything (1 Thess. 5:18).
Everything.

The good, the bad, the ugly.  Cancer is ugly.  This we know for sure.

But what we also know is that there is hope.  Hope for each one of us in this (very) broken world.  Hope for an eternal life with newness, peace, and beauty far greater than any of our earthly brains can even begin to fathom (Rev. 21:4-5).

This campaign matters to me in ways which are inexplicable.  After walking through that valley all those years ago, I’ve come out on the other side not with a feeling of “Guess I just kicked THAT all on my own,” but rather an extreme sense of gratitude.  Of awareness.  Of purpose and perspective.  And most certainly, of hope.
It wasn’t instantaneous.  It was not in my time at all.  And it definitely wasn’t on my own.  Things happen exactly when they are supposed to happen.  And I know, man do I know, that when it is one of the ugly things you didn’t see coming, it’s hard to keep the faith.  It’s hard to not get angry.  It’s really, really hard to have all this hope I’m going on about.
But let me tell you:  it’s worth it.  Every struggle, every uncertainty, every feeling of guilt not only for being a survivor while others were not, but the built-in guilt and shame we all collect over the course of time – someday, it all makes sense.  Maybe not fully, maybe not right this second, maybe not even ever to our insatiable selves’ satisfaction.
Yet the older we get, the more retrospectively we survey, and the more we are unafraid to stay on the right side of that line we drew (and erased and re-drew and erased and…) the clearer things become. 
Time.  That’s what it takes, that’s what we have, and that’s what is here right now.
Please donate if you have not yet done so.  THANK YOU to all of you who have.  I have not given enough thanks throughout this campaign (add that to my guilt list, please), but know that we all – every one of us who are in this together – appreciate it immensely.
And so my friends, here’s what I will leave you with before the big night, because it matters:
Make the most of the days, weeks, months, and seasons of life with which you’ve been blessed.  There is always time to make a difference in someone else’s world.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12)