Saturday, January 2, 2016

Reflections from the Home Team January 2, 2016

“Don't let yesterday take up too much of today”

Greetings from Cedar Falls,

I wanted to take a moment to update you since my last Reflection in October. I’ve spent some time in Iowa City over past month. Things continue to look positive with regard to my counts and I continue a routine of sorts to deal with the ongoing side effects of treatments. As we close out the year I have much to be grateful for. I want to offer a special thanks to my doctors and medical support team for the time and efforts they have given to assist me in dealing with the frequent setbacks one deals with as a cancer survivor.
That brings me to this reflection.  As I was sitting in Iowa City this past week waiting for one of my appointments, I had the opportunity to sit and visit with an elderly couple in the waiting room who were dealing with some significant pain issues following their treatments.  We got into a discussion regarding what some of the remedies they had been investigating to help relieve the pain, and we compared some notes. Both were extremely upbeat and happy despite their pain issues. As the discussion continued while we waited, one of the thoughts they shared really landed home for me. I quote; “Despite our physical issues, we have each other and we don’t let yesterday take up much of today.” That struck home with me as it brought back a thought that drilled into my head during my playing days which I shared often with my players when coaching.…I think my coach borrowed that thought from Will Rogers, but it has served me well throughout the years.

“Don't let yesterday take up too much of today.”

 That thought represents the approach I have always tried to take as a teacher, coach, administrator and yes, especially as a cancer survivor. We need to be reminded of this constantly as it’s so easy to fall into the trap of self pity as we struggle with physical, emotional and spiritual issues that often confront us as “survivors” on a daily basis.  I recall in my playing days when I may have struggled at the plate hitting on a given day, but couldn’t let my mind drift as I needed to continue to focus on the rest of my game for the team to have a chance at being successful. Lesson learned: “Don't live in the past, you can't do anything about the past. It will never change whether it's yesterday or last year. The future is yet to be determined and can be influenced by what you do today. Today is the only day that really matters.” That lesson is one that will serve us well on a daily basis.

Vivian Laramore Rader, Florida’s “forgotten poet” writes:

 I have shut the door on yesterday,
 its sorrows and mistakes.
 I have locked within its gloomy walls
 past failures and mistakes.
 And now I throw the key away,
 and seek another room.
 And furnish it with hope and smiles,
 and every spring-time bloom.
 No thought shall enter this abode
 that has a taint of pain.
 And envy, malice, and distrust
 shall never entrance gain.
 I have shut the door on yesterday
 and thrown the key away.
 Tomorrow holds no fear for me,
 since I have found today.

I have found this poem inspirational as I “move forward” each day. I am joyful that I have the opportunity to continue to experience the simple joys that life brings us such as hugging my first grandchild Grace and enjoying the life experiences of my children as they “move forward” in their own lives. Despite some of the physical, emotional and spiritual “pains” that life can bring our way, these are things that must be cherished and will help us pull together and be supported as we “move forward”. The elderly couple in the waiting room was right, “Despite our physical issues, we have each other and we don’t let yesterday take up much of today.”

As I’ve often shared, I enjoy reading to help process my thoughts about “moving forward”. I have especially enjoyed John Burke’s new book titled Imagine Heaven. For decades, Burke has been studying accounts of survivors brought back from near death who lived to tell of both heavenly and hellish experiences.  Burke shows how the common experiences shared by thousands of survivors--including doctors, college professors, bank presidents, people of all ages and cultures, and even blind people--point to the exhilarating picture of Heaven promised us in the Bible. It has helped me gain an inspiring view of the life to come and ways we can live our lives today so that we “Don't let yesterday take up too much of today.”  You may discover Heaven is even more amazing than you've ever imagined!

Blessings to each of you for a healthy and productive 2016!!

Yours in life’s battles…


Link to: Reflections from the Home Team BLOG

Link to Vimeo: Reflections from the "Home Team"... Go the Distance
Link to: Tommy Emmanuel and "Angelina"