“We are always hungry for more.”
I was reflecting today and realized that we are only 10 days away from Christmas and 2.5 weeks away from the new year! Soon, 2023 will be here, and we will plan and dream of all the great things the new year will bring.
Some of us will start new habits, which will allow us to lose weight and get healthy. Many of us will commit to doing a better job with our finances, and some of us will just focus on improving our existing relationships. The vast majority of us will definitely have some sort of resolution for the new year. (The vast majority of us will also fail our New Year’s resolution by February 1, but that’s a whole other topic for another day!)
As I was reflecting on the new year, what I wanted to accomplish, and what my goals were, I found myself doing something that maybe you are guilty of as well. I was upset with the year 2022 and was reminding myself how much I wanted it to end. It has been a year full of so many challenges for me, and I felt like 2023 would be a fresh start. Maybe you’ve been through some things this year as well and you thought the same.
After I spent some time reflecting on this today, realizing that my thinking was stinking, I stopped and corrected myself. How dare I wish that the 17 days that are left in this year would end quickly? Earlier in the year, I was praying every day, wondering how many days I had left and asking God for as many as possible. Now I wanted them to end quickly? No way. I reminded myself to enjoy every last day in 2022, good or bad, because I remembered that they are not guaranteed to me or any of us.
2022 definitely handed me some adversities, but I learned that within those adversities, there are blessings. What I learned most this year, though, was how to stay hungry for more. I thought I already knew the recipe for staying hungry. It is something I have been teaching and talking about for years. Dream some big dreams, and make sure they include as many other human beings as possible. This will keep you going and keep you hungry.
It is definitely true, and it’s definitely good advice. I have stayed hungry for years in business, relationships, and my health by simply remembering the other people who were included in those goals and dreams. Then, June of 2022 came, and life smacked me in the face hard.
The first doctor looked me in the eye and said the three words that I pray you never hear: “You have cancer.” A few days later, the second doctor told me the same thing. During those three days, I wasn’t hungry for anything at all. I was sort of mad at God because I didn’t feel like I deserved to be sick. I had lots of anxiety, so I barely ate. I wasn’t even hungry to talk to anyone like I usually am. I just remained quiet.
This initial reaction lasted a couple of days. On the third day, when I woke up for my second opinion appointment, my mind was already in a different place. I had apologized to God for losing faith in him, and I had apologized to myself for not staying positive. I walked into that appointment with my faith at the highest level it has ever been. I stood there and received the second cancer diagnosis without even flinching.
Immediately, without any pause at all, I said, “I understand. Let’s go fight this thing.” My doctor was happy with my attitude, but he went on to explain what the future looked like for me. A few weeks later, I would undergo surgery to try and save my eye. It was going to be painful, and it was going to be a long process. If it did work, I could expect to lose the majority of my eyesight in that eye.
I was told to get ready for a minimum of two painful surgeries with the possibility of a third. I was also told that they would collect a biopsy during the first surgery, and we would have to wait about 30 days for the results. This meant that for the next 45 days, I would have no idea what type of cancer I was fighting. The best-case scenario was an 85% survival rate after five years, and the worst-case scenario was a 15% survival rate after five years.
I spent the next 45 days fighting without really knowing what I was fighting or how many days I had left. In those 45 days, I must’ve prayed 15 times a day very intentionally. Because it’s close to Christmas right now, I remembered today one thing that I had prayed for so many months ago. I remembered telling God that if I didn’t have much longer to live, please at least allow me to have one more Christmas with my family.
Now that Christmas is upon us, I get emotional just thinking about how precious not just Christmas but every single day is. I have since completed my three surgeries, received my biopsy results, and have been told my tumor has stopped growing. All of this is good news, and the biopsy proved that I had a less aggressive form of cancer with a much higher survival rate.
The main lesson that I’m trying to convey here is this: In 2022, I learned how to stay hungry for the right to have one more day. I learned to appreciate everything in that day: the sunlight, the clouds, the trees. I learned to appreciate every single conversation, even the ones I had with strangers. I took nothing for granted, and I saw beauty in everything and everyone. Every single night as I laid my head on my pillow, I was eager for the next day.
I did not care if it was going to rain. I did not care if it was time for another surgery. I didn’t even care if I had a bad hair day or a headache. All I cared about and was hungry for was just one more day. I thought I knew exactly the best way to stay hungry all these years, but 2022 taught me differently.
I guess you could say that 2022 was an “eye-opening” experience for me, one that I will never forget and that taught me a valuable lesson. Every day is not guaranteed, and every day should be absolutely cherished. I’m hungrier than I have ever been for life and for everything, good and bad, that comes with it.
There are only 17 days left this year, but I’m hungry for every single one of them. No matter what those days bring my way, I will gladly take them. What about you? Are you hungry to go to work tomorrow or go to the gym? Are you looking forward to spending some holiday time with your family, even if you don’t like them that much? Are you looking forward to paying for those Christmas presents that you bought?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, I understand why you might feel that way, but please understand where I’m coming from.
No matter what your days include, just remember there is someone who is no longer here who would trade with you in a Detroit minute. The goal of staying alive has taught me how to be hungry for life every single day. I hope you can learn from my story and the emotions I went through this year without having to go through them yourself. That is the reason I am sharing this message today.
Someone on this earth needs you to keep fighting! I need you here, your family and friends need you here, and you need you here. Please keep fighting for your right to truly live another day, and always stay hungry for more.
God bless all of you, and thank you so much for reading this week.