A few days ago I had a mammogram. This morning I got a phone call from the imaging center telling me that they found some kind of mass and they need to do a different mammogram. She explained that if it still looked like there was something there then they would have to do an ultrasound.

I was calm when the person on the phone relayed all the information to me. I didn’t say much, just “Ok.” She paused then asked if I had any questions (maybe she was expecting a different kind of response from me?). I asked her when was the soonest day I could make an appointment, and after choosing the day she made the appointment and I ended the call.

A while ago I received a similar phone call. My reaction was not the same as today’s—I was upset, scared, and confused. Cancer runs in my family, so my immediate thought was—“it’s cancer.”

After seeing so many deaths since then, I have no real reaction. My thought is that God has control over life and death—I can’t make myself live longer than what God has authorized for me to live. All I can do is ask Him to give me a little more time on earth, but He’s the One who will decide if I leave or if I stay.

I’m not sure if my reaction has anything to do with my reading through Ecclesiastes. I started the first chapter a couple of days ago. What runs through my mind now is, “Everything is so meaningless.” I can understand that sentiment— many people work hard, sacrificing time with their spouse and/or children, just so they can accumulate “stuff.” Others think about the “stuff” they want and don’t have.

“Stuff” doesn’t matter— what matters is making an impact on your loved ones, like taking the time to hear what they are thinking, and just getting to know them again.

I remember going blueberry picking in Alaska when I was a child. After all the berries had been gathered, I stayed in the kitchen to watch my grandmother make pies. I also remember going on camping trips to the lake with my grandparents and my cousins.

I want to give the same kind of memories to my own children and grandchildren. Even though she is only 3-years-old, I have made cupcakes with my granddaughter a few times now because I want her to remember that special time she had with her grandmother.

Having “stuff” can’t replace “being there” with someone, and wasting time on wishing for “stuff” means that less time is spent with those you love.

I don’t know how long I will live— none of us really know. I just want to make the most of my life while I am still living and spend as much time with my loved ones as possible.

From Ecclesiastes 9:1-3, 5-7, 9-10, “Even though the actions of godly and wise people are in God’s hands, no one knows whether God will show them favor. The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether righteous or wicked, good or bad… There is nothing ahead but death…

The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth. So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this!

… Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun… Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave,there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom” (NLT).

So the bottom line is, know God, enjoy life with those you love, and stop worrying about “stuff.”

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

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