“I Choose Life”

“I choose life,”she replied.It’s the same answer almost every morning. I hope it lasts forever.

Breakfast time is a busy one at our house. With 7 people hurriedly getting ready for school or work, it can get kind of chaotic.

On my way down the steps I often ask the kids what I can get them for breakfast. “Toaster strudels!” Two of them always respond. “I’ll take oatmeal,” our oldest and most health concious answers. But my daughter, she picks cereal. “What kind Riley?” “I choose life!”

Those words have stuck with me. I know she’s talking about the cereal but I pray as she gets older, she’ll continue to choose life each morning.

It’s easy not to. Millions of people every day choose another option. They choose to hate, to ridicule, to steal from this world. They choose individual over community, greed over goodness and hell over hope. They may still be alive, but they are certainly not choosing life.

A friend of ours recently passed away after a 3 year battle with cancer. Her name is Liz. Liz was 36 and leaves a husband and 4 young children.

I had the privilege of getting to know Liz in college. It’s hard to describe her in a few words but from the moment you met her, you knew what choice she made every morning. Life wasn’t something that Liz lived, it was something that bubbled out of her. Her joy and smile affected many many lives and as I sat and listened to the stories her family and husband shared during her “celebration of life” I couldn’t think of a better title for the gathering.

Through all the chemo treatments (38 to be exact), surgeries, weeks in the hospital, sleepless nights and painful moments, Liz continued to choose life. Her Facebook posts and messages filled others with hope and certainty of a Love she met long ago. Her husband Isaac spoke in length about her ability to live each and every day.

When the cancer took a turn for the worst and the doctors told Liz and Isaac there was nothing left to do, Liz wrote a message on Facebook that calmly explained the situation and ended by saying they “continued praising God for you and your faithfulness in prayer for us.” Even in her darkest times, Liz’s light shined through.

I have no idea why God chose not to answers the thousands and thousands of prayers for earthly healing for Liz. We probably won’t ever know. But I do know that God blessed Liz with a unique gift that she freely gave to anyone who came in contact with her. I was fortunate to be one of those people.

Tomorrow morning as I walk down the steps and Riley tells me she chooses Life, I’ll be reminded of Liz and her daily choice.

I pray we all make the same decision. Because it’s in that moment our purpose begins, our stories take shape and our life starts to make sense.

Although death may eventually steal our temporary earthly breath, we can take hope, comfort and joy in knowing eternity is just beginning.

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