(Source: The Unbounded Spirit,



“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” – Voltaire 

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.” – Dale Carnegie 

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:20-21



As I was heading home from a meeting yesterday in downtown Washington, D.C., I encountered a happenstance moment by bumping into a former colleague, who I worked with at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Sandy is one of those individuals who can always cheer up your spirits with her warm-hearted laughter and welcoming eyes. During our engaged conversation, amid passers-by hustling about us, she quickly interjected a convicting epigram after I was going down the woebegone road of “if I die from cancer” scenario.

“If this cancer takes me, I just want to die among those that I care about” I said.

Together, with a penetrating stare and an incisive response, “Alex, you can’t die before you die,” Sandy quickly responded.

Of all the statements conveyed to me following my third diagnosis with cancer, by far…without question…Sandy’s words “You can’t die before you die” struck a convicting chord within me.

I’ve been so focused on preparing for the possibility of facing my own mortality that that I had unintendedly started to relinquish the life I am living today.

  • A life with my soul mate.
  • A life with my family, loved ones, and friends.
  • A life that includes my aspirations and goals and dreams.
  • A life dedicated to Yeshua and His teachings.

I am so thankful for Sandy’s penetrating epigram.

I will now hold “You can’t die before you die” as a banner flying in the wind to remind me to focus on the gift of life today. And to let tomorrow take care of tomorrow, regardless of the outcome with cancer. In truth, to live like Paul (Philippians 1:20-21) by surrendering to circumstances that I cannot control, while choosing to live life today, with both standards tethered to God’s promise to always be in me (John 17:20-23, 25-26).

One of my favorite heroes in life is John Wooden, who was raised on a small farm in southcentral Indiana and led an unparalleled career at UCLA as a coach, husband, father and teacher. He embodied his father’s written decree of how to live life in the following Seven Things to Do, published in “Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court” (1997):

  1. Be true to yourself.
  2. Help others.
  3. Make each day your masterpiece.
  4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
  5. Make friendship a fine art.
  6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
  7. Pray for guidance and count and give thanks for your blessings every day.



Prayer Request: Dear Heavenly Father, help me live a life today that truly exemplifies your love, while at the same time enjoying my true being. Show me how to use my gifts for others. Give me the wisdom to make each day my own masterpiece. Help me be more fully aware of what I see, taste, hear, smell, and touch. Give me the strength to be true to myself and to others, speaking words of encouragement and conviction, together with the service of my hands and mind. Draw those close to me that I can be used as your vessel. Help me see life as a celebration, a gift for each day to be delighted in, cherished and enjoyed. And give me the strength to embrace circumstances that I can control and surrendered to those that I cannot. Amen.

Clinical Notes: Next week, I will have to undergo another biopsy on August 24, followed by another round of chemotherapy infusion, Friday, Aug. 25.

Photo journal here.






Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)