The Emphasis Is On Living

It is an interesting time to be alive….with an emphasis on living.

I gave my ultimate and final speech this last weekend – a virtual keynote for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society Blood Cancer Conference in Washington D.C. I was supposed to deliver one last year at this time – live and in-person in Washington D.C.. What a difference a pandemic makes. There were 343 people attending online and I got very nice positive comments in the evaluation – a gratifying way to end this chapter of my life. I am grateful to be living life after being an inspirational speaker

I have been spending time with my sister, Ardyce. She is 10 years (to the day!) my senior. She and her husband have recently moved to MN from rural PA, due to a general need to be closer to family. They both have daughters living here. Ardyce came with a diagnosis of Myelofibrosis, a form of Leukemia (it is a small world) – and after a second opinion at the Masonic Cancer Center University of Minnesota, she is now living life NOT as a cancer survivor, but as an 82 year old woman with other health issues – just NOT cancer. I am grateful to put emphasis on living life without cancer.

I have enjoyed walking at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, where Dale took the picture of daffodils last week. It is a very good reminder of how nature awakens at its own pace in the spring in MN. We had snow in our yard on Wednesday morning. Our dock is in and now we wait for an opportunity to be out on the lake. I have always loved sitting at my kitchen table (I have called it my place of slothfulness), watching the seasons change. Living with a view sky, land and water is a huge gift.

I have continued to read and reflect on the reality of systemic racism in our nation. We are at a significant crossroads between moving forward to a more just world – with diversity, equity and inclusion as our goal. After reading the book, The Sword and The Shield by Dr. Peniel Joseph, I am discouraged that the rhetoric and politics we are experiencing today is so very much the same as what was present in the 50’s and 60’s when Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and so many others were struggling for justice and freedom. Will we ever be living in the “Beloved Kingdom”?

I realize I have begun every paragraph of this post with “I”. While considering going back to change each of those beginning sentences, I made the decision to leave them be. It is an interesting time to be alive….and I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on my life and share it with those who choose to read more. Thank you.