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Most of my adult life has been spent as an adrenaline junkie, searching for experiences that pushed me to the edge of my ability to cope and survive. Today, adventure travel is commonplace, but many of my trips were well before Indiana Jones became a household name. How crazy is it to deliberately seek out abandoned mine shafts, high in the remote Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico, then enter them in search of minerals and crystals, armed with nothing more than a couple of kerosene lanterns and some rock hammers? No ropes, no water, plus we didn’t even drop breadcrumbs so we could find our way out! That wasn’t crazy. That was just plain stupid, as in this gene pool doesn’t deserve to survive.
Or how crazy is it to go to San Cristóbal de las Casas, high in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico, during the early days of the Mexican government’s murderous violence against the indigenous Indians, and spend Christmas Eve, 1985, navigating narrow rocky roads in the dark as gun fire erupts all around you, only to discover in front of and behind you, the Mexican Army has set fire to the mountains and you’re wondering if you can make it to the next switchback before the fire jumps the road and engulfs your only way out?
You’d think I would have learned from some of these experiences and gathered a little wisdom along the way. Maybe switched to a nice beach somewhere; ordered a couple of Piña Coladas, read a good book… But no-o-o-o! It took marrying James Coffee and his overwhelming desire to do what’s right for his family, to protect them from the bad guys and to make me realize how lucky I was to have survived my former lifestyle that gave me the real survivorship tools I needed. As I look back on my life, it’s not the stupid stuff I’ve done, and somehow managed to survive, that scares me. It’s what if I’d never met James?
James has saved me in every way that counts: mentally, physically and emotionally. His love for me is inscribed on a tablet in my heart. But most of all, without saying a word about God, the way James lives his life made me realize I was missing a giant piece of the puzzle. The more I let go and trusted James, the more I realized I needed to trust in God as well. In Superman, when Lois Lane falls from the Daily Planet building, Superman swoops in from seemingly nowhere and catches her in his arms. “I’ve got you,” Superman says. Not totally reassured, Lois replies, “Who’s got you?” Because of James, I now realize God has always had us both.
That which influences us most shapes our perspective, and because of God, James and breast cancer, I’m no longer the same person I used to be. I’ve gained perspective and a smidgeon of wisdom, albeit not nearly enough, about life and the things that matter most. But most importantly, I’ve learned to trust in God.
Being diagnosed with a serious illness is kind of like when Lois Lane fell off the Daily Planet building. Doctors and surgeons may be there with an answer for you, but how do you know it’s the right answer? You may feel the need to get a second, or a third opinion, but eventually you need to let go and let God catch you. Like a little child who knows how dependent they are on their parent, God is our Father. In times of trouble, many of us are compelled to turn to Him for guidance and direction, only to drop Him when the storm stops. If you’re one of those who only calls on God during hard times, what if you talk to Him on the other days as well? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; and in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5.