Friday, July 26, 2013

Turning Why into THANK YOU

Have you ever had one of those days where the stars align, and things just happen in a way that you just can't deny that it was meant to be?  Today has been one of those days - a life changing day.

Wes and I started our day by making plans to go to our favorite spot in town to meet some friends.  The Sweetness Factory is an amazing bakery that specializes in cupcakes, but also has inspirational gifts, and gourmet candy.  Basically, it's heaven on Earth.  What makes The Sweetness Factory even more special, is the owner.  She donates her profits to the regional Food for Kids program.  Deb is also a cancer survivor, and just an all around inspirational person.  If you need to be uplifted- she is the person you need to go see.  Now you know, the combination of those wonderful things is just not something I can't resist.  Amazing treats, giving- inspiration... yeah, we spend a lot of time there.

We walk in the doors and see our friends who are there to meet us, but get a bonus treat, because Wesley's Relay sugar momma, Cheryl, happens to be there to!  Cheryl is a former big boss (as Wes tells it) for The American Cancer Society, and was the person who orchestrated Wesley's birthday surprise at the offices in Oklahoma City.  She is like the big sister I always wished I had, because she and I are right on the same page when it comes to giving, parenting, and general craziness.

Cheryl gives us some AMAZING news.  Since I was a slacker this morning and slept in, I had not checked my email before leaving for Sweetness.  An article that Heidi Mercer (The Director of Youth Engagement in the High Plains Div of ACS) wrote about Wes has been chosen to be featured in 100 stories, 100 days - a special project that The American Cancer Society is doing to celebrate it's 100th birthday!  This is such a big honor, that I almost can't wrap my head around it.  Wes, of course, thinks it is just another day in the life of Cancer Man  :) You will be able to see the story LIVE here on Monday! 100 Stories - Wes Washburn

                                          (Wes and Cheryl holding hands during RFL 2013)

We take a seat with our friends (by the way- my poor friends- I am so all over the place all of the time that it is a miracle they ever want to hang out with me in public) and Deb comes by our table.  She asks Wes to tell her what is going on with the 100 Stories, and he tells her all about it.

She says, "Well, I just want to tell you thank you, and tell you how much it means to me, because I just found out that I have cancer again.  Come give me a hug."

My eyes immediately burn with tears.  Not just from seeing the hope that Wes gives people, but in ANGER.  HOW is it possible that this amazing woman, a survivor- who does so much for others, gives selflessly, and inspires us all, has to face this again?  HOW?

Deb is smiling, and I am a mess.  I tearfully say, "You are such a good person, it kills me that you have to go through this again."  And then, we had a conversation that I will never forget.

She said, I always turn my whys into thank yous.  Instead of complaining in traffic- WHY am I behind this person going so slow, making me late?  Thank you, God, I have a car, I have a job, and I have a place to be going.  WHY do I have to go through this again?  Thank you, God- I survived, I created this place, I can help others, and I can inspire.

Thank you.

I stood up and hugged her, thanked her and told her how much she inspired me.  Wes told her he was going to fight for her- fight in her honor this year. 

I took what she said to heart.  So often, I get caught up in the rush of things, that I get frustrated and ask WHY.  WHY can't I have that bigger house I want?  WHY is business slow?  WHY isn't my husband getting promoted as fast as we want?  

The truth is, if I turn those into thank you's, and realize how fortunate I REALLY am, my whole perspective changes.  This weekend I challenge you all to try it- just once, for me.  When you are upset or frustrated, think about what you do have- think about your thank yous.  It's so easy to go through life and forget.  We are truly blessed, and life feels better when we realize it.

 Wes and Deb

For the CURE-