Filling Hearts

This weekend was amazing. You are never quite aware of how a disease such as cancer can change a personor a family until you are the person or the family that it changes. We have breast cancer awareness month and there is a fundraiser or foundation for this and for that. Alzheimers, injured veterans, families of fallen police men and women, St. Judes. I mean the list for the places you can put your money to help fund organizations or to help find a cure could probably make it’s own book. If you are not affected by any of them you can never fully understand. You can have a heart to want to do something and believe me that is what we need. People with hearts to want to do something to help others in need and to reach out and give. I have a heart and a passion for several organizations that don’t personally affect me but now I have an understanding on a deeper level that I will never fully understand the gravity of their situation and that makes me want to be more compassionate, more giving, more caring and more precise in my prayer life.

When you are told that your father has been diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiforme, a rapidly growing brain tumor, your kind of left looking at the person telling you confused and saying, “I don’t understand?” That’s not something that actually happens to people I know. That happens in the movies or you hear people talk about someone they know that had a brain tumor but not my Dad. It’s just all so unreal. It still is. I’m not sure why. There is nothing about my Dad or my family that would make us immune from this type of thing. My parents are just going to grow old together and pass away on the front porch in their rocking chairs holding hands. Change of plans. Now I have to learn all these medical terms and statistics and be constantly disappointed. Every time I think we are going two steps forward we are actually falling three steps back. People are now coming out of the wood work telling you that they have a family member that passed from this cancer or someone they know that was close to them. I never really even heard much about this particular cancer but it’s everywhere. There is no cure. There are cases of individuals living with it for 15 years but they are much younger and very few and far between. Best case scenario is to slow down the rapid growth and give you more time. It’s heinous and wretched to watch someone go through as I can imagine all terminal illnesses are.

Let me get to this past weekend and why it was so amazing. As I’m sure many people are like me and they go through life and may donate to certain things or have causes that are close to their heart but then get clothes lined when these things affect those closest to us. Richmond held it’s 2nd annual RVA Brain Tumor 5K. I have never been apart of something like that. I have never participated in an anything K, marathon, walkathon or raising money for a cause like this. This was amazing. Our team – PawPaw’s Pride (we called my Dad PawPaw when he became a grandfather) set a goal to raise $1,000.00. We raised $1,995.00!! That is amazing and I want to thank all of you who made that possible. The National Brain Tumor Society set out to raise $175,000.00 and we collectively raised $272,221.55!! How awesome is that. Wouldn’t it be amazing to find a cure so when our children grow up they may not have to go through what we have. Their children may not have to watch them suffer with this disease and many others. I’m not saying all of these things so you all will jump on the bandwagon and be avid supporters of the National Brain Tumor Society. I certainly think that would be amazing and we would love to add to our team of walkers next year. The more the merrier. Let’s make PawPaw’s Pride the #1 Team in Richmond!!!! I say all this to tell you be passionate.

You don’t have to wait to be affected by something horrible. You don’t have to wait for someone to die or to be horribly injured or fighting for their lives or any number of issues we have going on in this world. This disease has changed me and I will never be the same and I will be a part of the National Brain Tumor Society and RVA 5K every year now. That’s just my world though. It’s easy to stop there and not venture outside of my world and what affects me. I have other things I am passionate about and want to help make a change in. Sometimes we either don’t know how, or we don’t want to step out of our comfort zone, we put it off and say “I’m going to donate to them, I need to set that up. Next month. I’ll get that done.” We can always turn that channel as well because those commercials make us sad, uncomfortable and we just don’t need to watch that. God calls us to do these things. To reach out. To step out of our comfort zones. How else will people see the love of God. – What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself , if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17 – “Do not neglect to do good and to share wht you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16 – “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” 1John 3:17

What does your heart urge you to do? Where does your heart urge you to go? It’s not all about writing a check and sending money. Your time means so much. I have a heart for the homeless in our community. Well then I need to be spending time reaching out to our homeless. Serving, donating, plugging in where God wants me to be. I have other things on my heart that I feel I should be doing. No, you are right. We can’t do them all. We can’t save the world by ourselves but together everyone can make a difference. Ask God to show you where you are supposed to be. I promise he will show you.

The amazing thing that happens is, in the process of giving of yourself you are blessed. You are fullfilled. You think you are the one serving, helping and making someones day brighter. You are, you certainly are, but you will walk away being more served by the ones you are serving, being more loved by the ones you are loving, making meaningful deep relationships, and being so filled with God’s love you feel like you just might bust.

So as I move forward through this process. From receiving my Dad’s diagnosis to functioning and working through the grief and understanding his death I continue to learn. Nothing happens good or bad that there isn’t a way to glorify God. I may not always do such a bang up job and make the right choices but he’s working with me and he’s holding my hand every day. I love my family so much and our bond has done nothing but gotten stronger since May 23rd. Walking in the 5K this weekend was exhilierating, a great way to remember my Dad, a wonderful way to strengthen my family, and an awesome way to bring awareness and raise money to find a cure for this disease. We walked it this year. Well, some of us are in better shape and ran. I walked it this year. Next year I’m going to run it. If you know me that will be quite an accomplishment. Don’t wait for tradgedy, start filling hearts with love.