As I sit here in Starbucks drinking my peppermint mocha with coconut milk (which is awesome — try it!) and watching the snow fall, listening to Let It Go by James Bay, I am smiling. Why? Because I feel more alive now than I did before cancer. Before cancer, I was just going through life. You know, the motions, but not really living, just being. Now, after cancer, I am looking at life differently, not taking anything for granted.
I used to hate the snow. I hated driving in it. Now, I love it. I love how the snow falls and how quiet it gets at night when it snows. So peaceful.
So, I want to talk about something new. I am not a religious dude. I have a relationship with God. I talk to Him like I talk to my best friend. Have you ever said “Thank you” to Him? Have you ever thanked Him for giving you a chance to live life again after cancer, or for helping you while you are going through it?
The next time you are at the park doing your daily walk, do something different. I am not saying go a full sprint, but do this: Stop and look up. Someone once asked me when I felt God’s grace. I had to think about this one, and when I realized my answer a smile ran across my face. You see, I am not the kind of person who talks about my relationship with God, but lately I have been. I have been openly talking about it and it is just fine.
So, back to that question. When did I feel God’s Grace? Well, it wasn’t during my cancer, even though I knew He was there helping me through it. It was when I took a walk on a warm and sunny day. I went to a park near my apartment. I parked the car and started to walk on the path with other walkers. Then a voice told me to go off path. I did. I ended up on a small hill with green grass. I stretched out my hands, looked up and said, “Thank you God for my life, Thank you for giving me a second chance at life!” That moment, I felt a warm breeze brush across my face. It felt like God gave me a hug. At that moment, I also was praying that a bird wasn’t going to poop on my face. But God does answer us in mysterious ways, too. Either way, I knew I was going to be OK.
You see, there are so many people out there walking on a path, but never going anywhere. They are so focused on what is in front of them, they never stop and look up to say, “Thank You.” It is OK to go off path, too. You never know what other adventures await you. Take the chance. And remember to look up!
I am taking a new path. I have been so focused on one thing these past four years that I lost track of other things that are important to me — what makes me happy. So, I am going to start my own coffee shop. Since I love coffee, people, and music, why don’t I just open a coffee shop? Right? I mean, I managed one several years ago and I know I can do well with it. It can be my headquarters for my nonprofit foundation, too! I can advocate and raise awareness through coffee!
My advice to all of you trying to figure out Life After Cancer: Go after your dream. Go off the beaten path. Thank God! And Enjoy Your Life!
My name is Steve Del Gardo. Breast Cancer Survivor. Warrior of Life. I am who I am. For more information on my foundation, go to www.protectthepecs.org.
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