A friend of mine told me the story of a wonderful young woman named Vanessa who was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in her late 20s. She is in hospice now, yet she has a project going called, "Live Sincerely."
She asks you to take the Live Sincerely pledge, which is this:
I will live sincerely.
I will learn from each person and each day on my journey
and will share ideas and wisdom from my own experiences.
With a grateful spirit, I will acknowledge my need for others and will in turn be loving and generous,
remembering that every member of a community plays a unique role.
I will remain strong in my convictions
while keeping an open mind to perspectives beyond myself.
Courageously, I will respect each movement of my heart,
through fear and joy, grief and peace.
I will cultivate my passions with delight
and also take time for honest introspection.
I will love the person I am today
while constantly striving towards my best self.
I will keep a healthy balance between the rewards of discipline and the growth and wonder that spontaneity brings.
I will acknowledge both the marvel and the limitations of my body and respectfully take care of it the best I can.
Accepting the reality that there are circumstances I cannot change, I will seize my power to actively change that which I can control with hope and creativity.
I commit to living each chapter of my story:
honoring the lessons and gifts of my past,
fully participating in the fleeting beauty of the present,
and bravely walking towards the unknowns of my future.
Knowing that life is an enduring but glorious struggle,
I pledge to live each day with purpose.
I will live sincerely.
Wise words from somebody so young.
I was given the opportunity to see a private video of a remarkable man who has only months to live, also a young person. Knowing your life is short makes you think deeply and acknowledge your mortality in a vivid way. It forces you put things into perspective, makes you want to cut out the noise to get to the song - and you become wise beyond your years.
It always makes me sad to know a young person's life will be cut short; it seems particularly unfair. Of course, none of us want to die before our time, before we raised our children and grandchildren, loved and lost, have grown old. Those of us who are living with a terminal illness know clearly that life holds no promises and all we can do is live sincerely in the short time we have left. Somehow, it becomes important for those of us who know our time is short to let people know what truly matters. Our perspective changes, and we can see what they can't. The petty concerns that take up most of our days - they are of our own making. If we can't have long, meaningful lives, we want others to do so.
Vanessa is sharing the gift of her insight - insight that those close to death often have. And, that is quite a gift.
Here is a news story done about Vanessa recently:
FOX19.com-Cincinnati News, Weather
As you can see, she and her family are remarkable people.
The Taffy Box is doing a line of "Live Sincerely"jewelry with the permission of Vanessa. 100% of the proceeds go to the Scar Project, for which Vanessa posed and which meant a lot to her.
So, read Vanessa's story, take the pledge, do the assignment. Buy the jewelry to remind yourself what life is about and that living fully and authentically is a one-shot deal.
My heart goes out to Vanessa and her family. I hope they can find comfort in knowing that she has touched and changed lives. People will carry her words and will Live Sincerely because of her.
Thank you Vanessa.