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Gift of Life
Photo: Chad Mcdermott
Usually I don’t mind waiting. But recently, when I had to wait for medical tests results, I did mind. Along with a routine yearly check up, my doctor felt it important to test me for the same type of cancer that took my brother’s life much too soon.

Most days, as I waited, I forgot about the tests. Other days I worried. When the nurse finally called with the results, a wave of relief washed over me. Everything came back normal.

“You’ve been given something,” the nurse gently told me over the phone. Then she asked, “Do you know what that is?”

“A gift?” I said.

“Yes,” she replied. “Now go take care of it.”

And that’s exactly what I’m committed to doing.

Those of us who aren’t consistently health conscious usually have excuses. It’s easier to get fast food than to cook a healthy meal from scratch. There’s just no time for exercise. We’re too busy taking care of everyone else. There aren’t enough hours in a day to get eight hours of sleep. We don’t like the taste of water. We’ll start taking care of ourselves once life slows down a bit.

Turn Back the Clock

But what if we wait too long? What if one day the nurse calls to say, “The tests showed a spot” or “You have diabetes” or “Your heart isn’t functioning properly” or “You’re at high risk for a stroke.” Then we’d give anything to turn back the clock and do it right: to eat three low-fat meals a day; to exercise 30-60 minutes daily; to drink eight glasses of water and get eight hours of sleep; to eliminate junk foods and limit desserts; to kick habits that harm our bodies; to lower the stress level and find joy in living.

Although people who live healthfully sometimes still get sick, why not give our bodies the best chance at both staying healthy and fighting illness and disease?

The nurse was right. Life is a gift. I’ve watched two babies be born—my nephew and my own daughter. And I’ve watched one person die—my dear brother. Having witnessed both the beginning and end of life, I can truly say, it’s a gift. And the One who gave us this gift—our Creator—has given us the responsibility of caring for it. No one can choose a healthy lifestyle for us. It has to be a personal commitment.

How are you treating your gift? Don’t wait until it’s too late and you look back and say, “If only….” Begin today. Begin now.

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Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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