I wish I was that brilliant to come up with this whole idea of savoring. But truth be told, I didn’t.
In late January of 2011 I heard about a woman named Sara Walker. A wife and mother of two young boys diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer on her birthday. The previous month she lost her baby girl at 39 weeks and delivered her on her and her husband’s 7th anniversary. Sara was only 33 years old. She lived just 5 minutes away from me.
Sara started a Caring Bridge site and updated it faithfully. She posted about her treatments, how she felt physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She was real. Authentic. I’m sure she felt very vulnerable. But she didn’t waver and shared openly and honestly. She touched so many lives within those first few weeks.
But then on February 16, 2011 in the wee hours of the morning she poured out her heart and wrote a post that would change the world. It may not change the world the way we think of it, but for many people, it would completely transform their world. And it was with one simple word.
This word gave us new perspective, changed the way we lived, changed attitudes, healed marriages, and relationships. It slowed us down so we could actually SEE the world around us. Notice the little things, the things we take for granted.
I knew it was something big when my husband came home from work and told me about an email someone showed him. When he told me about it, I knew he was talking about Sara’s post.
I did not know Sara personally. I met her three times and saw her twice in the hallway at our kids’ school. I talked with her a bit at a baby shower and a birthday party.
But on August 28th, 2012, I cried both tears of joy and tears of sadness when I heard that she had gone home… home to heaven. She was finally free from cancer and with her sweet baby girl, Anna.
It’s been a little over 5 weeks since she’s been gone, but her spirit is still so alive. The impact she left on this earth, on people’s hearts, will live on forever.
I can no longer look at the word savor the same. It has new meaning. It has Sara written all over it!
When I was trying to choose for a topic for the 31 Days series, I first thought about slowing down, of being present. Then the word SAVOR popped into my mind. And I knew that was what I was supposed to do.
I am going to share Sara’s message and continue to savor.
Savoring the Day
finding the extraordinary in an ordinary life
I would love you to join me in 31 days of savoring & sharing Sara’s message.
- Tell your friends you are going to savor every day this month
- Post moments and photos you are savoring on Sara’s Savoring the Day Facebook page
- Use the hashtag #savoringtheday on Instagram & Twitter
- Share with me on Facebook or Twitter or comment on this blog
- Follow me and see what I am savoring on Instagram @amberzaccagni
“SAVOR” Written by Sara Walker & posted on February 16, 2011
It is 1 am, and the chemicals which God created, which God allowed to be discovered, which God allowed researchers to combine and repeatedly verify their effectiveness against cancer, and which God allows caring, compassionate doctors and nurses to administer – also known as chemotherapy – are now coursing through my body. I am doing well so far, actually markedly better than I was on day one of round one. Apparently, one new side effect this time is they have gotten my creative juices to flowing. I have layed in bed for the past two and a half hours composing this post, the post that’s been ”swishing” for several weeks. This is the post I’ve been hesitant to write for fear that it will lead many to conclude that I am certifiable. Or you may conclude that it’s the drugs talking. I hope and pray that neither will be your conclusion, but that you will allow God to do in your heart what He’s been doing in mine. But I want you to know it without all the pain it took for me to know it, for Him to get my attention.
(My apologies to those of you who are getting text message alerts of my postings. Might want to consider changing that, as it seems I will often be posting at odd hours!)
My love of writing has always been a release for me; however, at times like this it feels a burden. For in this case, I feel woefully inadequate to most effectively combine words to convey my feelings, and yet they must come out. Apparently tonight, I will not rest until they do. I pray God will help me write tonight. You write your story, God.
For here’s my “craziness”:
Cancer is the most wonderful terrible thing that has ever happened to me.
Here’s God’s “foolishness”:
He’s given me such joy in the midst of pain.
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom.” (I Corinthians 1:25)
You see, I was a slave, and I feel like I’ve been set free. And I’m so excited about it, I can’t keep it in.
I’ve been freed from so many things. I’ve been freed (at least most of the time) from fear of tomorrow. I’ve been freed from control: for I CANNOT cure nor worsen my cancer. It is completely in God’s hands. I’ve been freed from the endless comparisons and ranking I do in my head. Thoughts of: I’m not talented enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not good enough at my job, I’m not skinny enough, I’m not as good a decorator as her, I’m not artsy and creative enough with my kids, my house is not clean enough, I’m not as organized as her, I’m not good enough at coupon-ing and saving money, I’m not interesting enough, I’m not fashionable enough…
I could go on and on (and I might expound in later posts). NONE OF THAT MATTERS! I am FREE to enjoy the life I’m living!
Life has such a sweetness to it right now!
(Oh, it’s not sweet all the time – I shared that previously. But God is allowing those weak times to be so few and far between, that it is truly unbelievable unless you could actually get inside my head and know!)
You see, my vision was clouded, but now I SEE! And I’m so excited about it, I can’t keep quiet. I can’t even sleep.
Quite literally, a blue sky is more blue. A hug from my boys, from anyone really, creates a warmer warmth in my bones. Simply holding hands with my husband is a more meaningful touch. The laughter of children is a more beautiful song. The smell of a newborn baby (this one’s really crazy, considering how I miss Anna) is an even sweeter smell. A long talk with a friend brings a deeper kinship. My precious parents and siblings, all my family, are more precious still. My church family, feels more like real family. A chocolate chip cookie, well, that’s always been awesome, but is amazingly even BETTER! (Again, most of the time – not so much while on chemo.)
Perhaps most significant, the words of scripture ring truer than they ever have in my life, and the presence of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and angels are more real (at least most of the time) than they’ve ever been. I can SEE all this now. How sad that it took all this suffering to get me here.
So much goodness, so much joy, all around me, all the time, and I was missing it.
Life is sweeter, and I’m relishing that sweetness.
Good old Suzy, the same one from my last post, had the most perfect, glorious word:
(just now finding it cool that that word is so close to “savior”)
That’s what God has enabled me to do these days – SAVOR life.
My prayer is that the next time you see a blue sky, you will rub your eyes and look again,: SAVOR it and see if doesn’t look bluer. That the next time you are faced with either taking care of the dishes in the sink or reading the book your child just asked you to read, you will let the dishes wait until tomorrow, and you will SAVOR a snuggle. That the next time you are stuck in a long line anywhere, you will SAVOR a chance to let your mind wander to praying for someone who needs it. That the next time you stay longer than planned talking to a good friend and consequently have to go through the drive-thru for supper, you will say to yourself, “It’s ok, I was savoring!” That the next time you put your kids in bed 15 minutes after bedtime because a spontaneous tickle fight ensued, you will SAVOR it. That the next time someone ”interrupts” your day to share and trust you with some of the load they are carrying, you will SAVOR a chance to be a listening ear and make a difference in that person’s life. That the next time you are doing your job, your occupation to the best of your ability but wonder if you should skimp on it and go home early, you will SAVOR the chance to do the job God gave you and do it well, with praise and not guilt. That the next time you have a chance to eat your favorite dessert, you will SAVOR it, because God created our taste buds too! God’s goodness comes in many forms that are easily missed!
Tomorrow morning, when you wake up, I humbly suggest you try something I’ve been trying to do for the last several days:
Immediately get down on your knees (or whatever humbling position your frame will allow) beside your bed and 1) praise God that you woke up, 2) praise Him for giving you the day that lies ahead, and 3)ask Him to help you SAVOR all the good things that will fill it up. Ask Him to keep you from missing a single one. It will take ONE MINUTE to do that. I have time for that, you have time for that. Try it one day and see if you don’t get addicted to it.
I will end with the real words of truth; the life-giving, living and active words, spoken straight from the mind and heart of God:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
LET THE SAVORING BEGIN!