Sitting in church yesterday, our priest talked about the true meaning of life. He said that at every stage in our lives, we are yearning for something more. When we are kids, we hold our Tonka trucks and Barbie dolls dear. When we are 14, all we can think about is getting our own car and earning our driver's permit. When we are in high school, we crave that starting spot on the varsity basketball team, and we spend too much time arguing with our parents about our curfew. When we are in college, we are searching for ourselves, seeking the career path that we will enjoy. After college, we start thinking about getting married, having kids and settling down. And, as we grow older, the material things in life have less meaning than when we were five and had the best toy farm set in town!
Listening to the message of that sermon, I noticed a woman sitting with her family. I saw her tufts of hair peaking out from underneath her cap, and I realized she must be in the middle of chemo-therapy treatments to fight some sort of cancer. I said an extra prayer for the woman and her family, as they must be going through a challenging time right now.
It doesn't matter who we are, what we have accomplished, or how many cows or acres we own, when something like cancer comes along, it quickly shows us what is truly important in life. In one way or another, we have all been touched by tough times, and I'm sure there isn't a one of us who doesn't know someone who has battled cancer or another type of illness.
Recently, I ran across an article about a man who had the heart of a cowboy, and he likened his fight against the disease to riding a bucking bronc, with a little extra kick to it. Here is a peak at the poem:
"Cowboy Up: Cancer Verses The Cowboy" by Andy Cummins (1945-2010)
"He ain't a bronc I'd choose to ride... I knew with no doubt this was the ride for life, so let's get on and see who's right... But we got him licked, he's startin' to tire. He's losin' his hump, he's losin' his fire."
For those of you in my extended agriculture family who may be going through a challenging time right now, remember the words of Cummins and give that bronc the ride of his life! We are a tough, ornery group of folks in farming and ranching, and if we stick together, we can get through just about anything.
Has your family been touched by cancer or another form of illness? How has your family coped? What advice do you have for others who may be missing extra chore help around the farm because of an unexpected life change like this? How has it changed your perspective on life and what's most important?