Friday, November 8, 2013

Dream New Dreams

"Dream New Dreams" by Jai Pausch

This book is written by the widow of Randy Pausch, who wrote "The Last Lecture".  That was a great book if you haven't read it, it is also on YouTube.  Randy died of pancreatic cancer.  After reading that book I wanted to read what his wife's perspective on his cancer and death.  This book is a very real book of the toll cancer takes on a whole family.  Randy and Jai have three young children.  Jai was thrown into the role of caregiver and writes how hard a job that is but how she wouldn't have traded it. She is a strong woman who has overcome and dared to dream again.  "When you are in difficult straits, identifying the areas where you need an extra hand or a smarter brain takes honesty and courage."  I think we try and do so much on our own because we are afraid to ask for help, afraid of being vulnerable and needy but that is what family and friends are for, to help each other.  That is why God gives us community.  "Please don't die, all the magic will go out of my life."  Jai said these words to her husband, fearing that when he did die there would be no life for her to live, that he would take all the good with him.  "His stories show the reader how our actions and treatment of other people have  a powerful impact on the shape of our lives."  When we give and serve others our lives are enriched and given purpose.  "Here in the safety of friends, the sadness didn't feel as heavy as when I was alone.  Perhaps that was because each of us held a little piece of grief's mantle."  I love that.  When we have community we are all sharing the good and the bad, carrying the burdens and celebrating the joys.  "I didn't have to be handcuffed to the past.  I had to learn to give myself the freedom to do what was best for my family."  "Most important, I was learning not to look at today through the lens of yesterday, which made the promise of tomorrow all the more magical."  So often we stay stuck in the past, past mistakes, past hurts, and that is not what God has for us.  Life is for the living and we need to walk in that freedom.  "At times, I still feel overwhelmed.  I think that's true for many parents-we're frightened by the fact that our children's lives are in our hands; it's a weighty responsibility."  A very weighty responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly.  Thankfully we have a God we can entrust our children to and pray to help guide them.  "I saw that the magic hadn't gone out of our lives when Randy died.  The magic was still with us, inside us.  It always had been."  "I had a wound that would heal according to no specific time line."  Grief takes many forms and takes lots of time.  Everyone deals differently and at different times.  "Randy said, 'In all likelihood, cancer is going to defeat my body, but it's not going to defeat my soul because the human spirit is much more powerful than any biological disease.'"  That is right, we can be hurt and even die but when we have Jesus we live on, free from death with Him forever.  "Life is a precious gift, and I don't intend to waste a day of it. Have I experienced tragedy? Yes, I have.  But it would be another real tragedy if I didn't recover from the sadness I have felt and thus missed the many happy moments along the way."  Most of us have experienced some sort of tragedy but we must keep living or we miss the beauty that God makes from those ashes.

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