Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Give Thanks

 Give thanks with a grateful heart. In the late 80's that was my favorite phrase of one of my favorite worship songs. Life was pretty good back then. We were very involved in a church that we loved. The fact of the matter is we were often at church or a church function 5 days a week. It was cool though because all of our friends were there as well. I was a worship leader and co-leader of the youth group. There was church on Sunday and Wednesday as well as home group on Friday. Worship team rehearsal was on Monday and Youth group was every Thursday evening. We were involved. We had it all. We would sing songs of worship and praise and thanksgiving. Looking back I wonder, was I truly thankful.
   A bitter divorce in 95' changed everything. I would not attend church again for 14 years. To this day I won't attend on a regular basis. I have nothing against church. I have nothing against most who attend. It is said that "time heals all wounds". That may be true but even a wound that recieves the proper care leaves a scar. For many years I blamed myself for the failed marriage. In time the truth became self evident and I was able to forgive myself and my ex.
  My divorce in 95 began my journey through hell. Not only did my family unravel but my life did as well. From another marriage and divorce to a crazy woman to a bout with drug addiction, I spent the next 10 years systematically destroying my life and losing everything along the way. 
  In the summer of 2005 I thought I had finally found the bottom of the hole. It was a long way up but with the help of family and friends who had never lost hope I threw away the shovel and began the long climb "Back to good" as I began to see the light of day I was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was almost as if God was saying " Are you serious" and kicked me in the nuts. I know that is not the truth but perceptions create reality.
   Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I know it is cliche to do this but although I will be working a 12 hour shift tomorrow  I want to share with my family and friends the gratefulness I feel in my heart. I am so thankful for the unconditional love of my wonderful wife "Amanda" who has never doubted for a moment the decision she made when she said "I Do". I am thankful for my Children, All four of them, who make me proud even when facing trials of their own. I am thankful for my 6 beautiful granddaughters who are perfect in every way. I am thankful for my friends and family who never gave up on me even in my darkest hours. I am thankful for my mom and dad for always being there even when it was a challenge to do so. I am thankful for the people of Dendreon who continue to do what they do and saving lives under adverse conditions. I am thankful for my doctors who keep finding ways to keep me keeping on. I am ever so grateful for the last 8 and 1/2 years since being told I had a year to live. I am thankful for Cancer. If not for my diagnosis my life would not be the amazing wonderful ride it is today. Last but certainly not least, I am thankful to God, who had the grace and mercy to give me another chance to get it right. I hope I never let all of you down again.
  I know my story is inspirational. I get inspired just reading it and I lived it. I just want all the afore mentioned to know that I couldn't have done it without you. Happy Thanksgiving, todd