Journaling through the Tough Times

March 17, 2010

We all experience difficult times in life, and we each find different ways to help us get through those times. Meditation, prayer and physical exercise are common methods we use.

I have found the practice of journaling to be especially effective.

Journaling for Comfort

Last month when my mom died unexpectedly I received an e-mail from a friend and former co-worker. She also lost her mother unexpectedly within the past year, so she expressed her condolences and then passed along some practical wisdom, saying, “A dear friend told me the day after mom died to keep a diary of those first few days. You may think you’ll never want to remember them but there comes a day when you’ll look back on a particular kindness or a surprise visitor and smile.”

Though it’s been less than a month since Mom died, I’ve already filled more than 20 pages in my journal. I also kept a detailed timeline of everything that happened during the first week. I instinctively knew that the events transpiring during that surreal time would soon become a blur and my memory would inadequately recall everything. Read the rest of this entry »

Five Years of Living Strong

September 25, 2009

Exactly five years ago today I placed a bright yellow band on my wrist. Imprinted on it were the words Live Strong.

During the past half decade I’ve never taken it off—not even once.

Five years ago my life was forever and dramatically changed. I was totally shocked when the doctor found a large malignant tumor inside my left eye. I had a rare form of melanoma on—of all places—my retina.

With that sudden and jolting news, I quickly rearranged my calendar and within the next six weeks my wife and I had flown to Boston twice. There I received the very best medical care from a world-renowned specialist and ophthalmology professor at Harvard University’s School of Medicine. On the first trip I underwent general surgery to prepare my eye for the second visit a couple weeks later. Then, on the second trip, I spent five consecutive mornings in an underground concrete bunker adjacent to Massachusetts General Hospital where my tumor was zapped with a powerful proton beam.

During that time I had no idea what the future held, but I realized that each day is a very special gift from God. To keep that realization uppermost in my mind, I purchased the yellow wristband. There on my arm, the words “Live Strong” reminded me to be strong and to live life to its fullest. Read the rest of this entry »

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