I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I once had a horrifying experience in a tanning bed.
I was in my early 20's and as luck would have it, I found myself with a free ticket to go on an all-expense paid cruise in the dead of winter.
I was ghostly looking and thought that a quick dose of color was exactly what I needed to get my tropical island groove on. Somewhere between placing the uber small goggles on and the ultra fluorescent lights humming, I quickly became overwhelmed with the sensation that I was laying in my own coffin. Lifting my arms up to get my under sides, I started quickly feeling for lumps or inflamed tissue of any kind. Nothing. But I still wasn't convinced. I started planning my funeral. Deciding the music. The people who would speak. All of it. Visibly shaken, I got out of the bed and have never gone back into one again.
I didn't think much about it until years later, I started learning about the history of breast cancer on my paternal side of the family. Continuing to administer self breast examinations regularly, I just thought, I'm too young to worry about this.
And then, during my last annual exam, my OB encouraged me to get a mammogram. Even though, I'm 38 years of age, the familial history makes a difference.
And so I am....next week. And, I have to admit, I'm starting to feel anxiety all over again. Not quite yet planning my funeral, I am however, assessing my behavior and trying to decide which regrets that I no longer want to live with.
While we all behave poorly from time-to-time and have people that we've not yet apologized to for our choices, overall, I'm painfully aware that the real purpose of all of this living thing is how we treat one another when the going gets hard....when someone is reaching out in need, do we offer a hand, or do we rest in the rationalization that we're busy people and we can only do so much?
Is it possible to choose kindness when all you really want to do is to have a minute to yourself? And when we do choose to give, do we find ourselves with more energy, bigger hearts, greater appreciation and ultimately, more love?
My mother always told me that "To whom much is given, much is expected." I've never taken that phrase to mean monetary goods....I've always equated it with whatever gift(s), blessing(s), you find yourself endowed with, they must be shared with the world.
Because if one day you find a lump or the test comes back positive or your better half decides not to come home, the most important place you can find yourself in is one of gratitude....thanking God and the world for what you've been given, no matter what. And ultimately, it starts with acts of kindness, generosity and availability always.
My experience tells me time and time again that it's worth it to give.