I Get to Live Today

On Thursday, I had a two minute conversation with a stranger that nearly brought me to tears.  You know that feeling your eyes get right before the waterfall starts flowing?  It’s not technically crying, but it’s definitely a harbinger of things to come.

After being introduced to him, I politely said, “Nice to meet you.  How are you?”

“I get to live today.”

With that, I learned that he had cancer.  I wondered what type.

“Terminal.”

He didn’t say it to invoke any sympathy.  He was well beyond that.  He said it with the same tone as if he was asked about his favorite color and responded, “Blue.”

Like a complete idiot, the only response I had at the time was, “Wow.”  It was not the type of conversation one would expect to have at 8:00 in the morning, but I will be forever thankful for that two minute conversation.

He went on to explain how they had found his cancer, the course of treatment the doctors took, and the disappointing prognosis.  But there was still joy and hope on his face and in his voice.  I suppose he had already come to terms with his illness.  The shock had warn off, but he still had hope for a miracle.

He closed our conversation by explaining how important it is to tell your family everyday how much you love them.  He added, “I just have to stay positive.”

With that, he was called away by a friend, patted me on the arm as if he we were old buddies, and we said our good-byes.  In that quick two-minute conversation I learned so much about life.  I think through his illness he has also learned so much about life, and he’s not afraid to share it:

“I get to live today.”

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