Never Forget: My Day to Ring the Bell
This past Friday, I got to take part in something incredibly special. I went back to the Center for Cancer Care and Research in Lakeland, Florida, where just 8 years ago, I received many of my own chemotherapy treatments. They were celebrating their 10 year anniversary, and, as a part of that, they had installed a bell for survivors to ring on the day of their last treatment. Because this bell was not in place for my last treatment, I, along with any other survivors present, was invited to come up and ring the bell 3 times.
I didn’t want to ring the bell alone, so I brought up some incredibly special people with me – some of the very same nurses who cared for and nurtured me when I was going through my treatments. I got to ring the bell and gave a triumphant “WHOOP!” afterwards, probably startling the very refined group of doctors and professionals who were gathered. I couldn’t help it, though, because this was a cause for celebration!
I also did a quick run-through of the building while the gathering was taking place, thanks to my friend and nurse Tracey. She brought me back up into the room where I once sat and received chemotherapy all those many years ago. It was a surreal feeling. I sat and had Tracey take this picture of me in one of the chairs where I used to receive my chemo, thinking back on how I used to have no hair while I sat there, and now – look at that long mane of hair!
Being there, made me realize just how far I have come, and how it’s so easy to focus on the newest drama and pain and forget the amazing journey my life has already taken. That morning before I went, I read my daily passages for my Read Through the Bible in a Year plan. While in Judges, this verse jumped out at me:
After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.
Israel had seen God in ways no one could deny – He had literally parted the sea in front of them to walk through! Still, after their generation had passed, the people began to forget about God and His wonders, and the stories of God’s faithfulness to His children was suddenly a thing of the past. As such, these people fell into sin that would cause drastic consequences. How sad that these stories had not been passed on to the generations that followed.
I don’t want that to be me, and I don’t want that to happen to my children. I want them to grow up knowing the story of how God delivered my life from cancer, and pass it on to their children and their children’s children, so that it can be told long after I have left this earth for my Heavenly home. How can I do that? By remembering. Part of what was so important in me attending the bell ceremony on Friday was that it serves as a fresh reminder to me of just how far I’ve come from those days.
May I never forget to thank God, and to share my story with others. In doing so, I hope to remind people of God’s goodness and faithfulness, and encourage their faith, as well. My prayer for my own children is that they would look upon my life and see God’s Hand and how He was real and present. If that can be part of the catalyst to them forging their own personal relationship with Christ, even better. Never forget where God has brought you from, and be sure to tell someone about it, too!