Another place in life….

I figured it out last Wednesday. Not everything of course. Just the key for me. The key that I need to move on.

It was a blatant realization that struck me in the middle of writing  a page and a half letter for my wife’s April 1st birthday: brownies with candles, lunch with a friend, and an indoor picnic reminiscent of our first picnic/kiss 7 years ago is not exactly a class act, but those days are long gone; I’ll just pull the cancer card for my lack of birthday grandeur.

Besides, I COMPLETELY screwed myself over for the rest of my life when I proposed to my wife. Not a  pun. I simply made a minor mistake. Went slightly overboard.  I  may never be able to come up with anything more fantastical.  My mistake was a complete surprise for her: the two of us flying  from Chattanooga, TN to Orlando, FL where we picked up a friends car and drove to West Palm Beach, FL to walk along the ocean, eat at the Ritz Carlton, and board a friend’s private catamaran yacht where soft blue lights, candles, roses, and a guitar awaited us. Feel free to visit myspace.com/danielharper to listen to my engagement song (complete me) if you are looking for an excuse out of work for another 3 minutes….for those interested in some terrible rap music, listen to the first song  and laugh your head off (at me).  Oh, for the college days again…sigh

Now, my key to moving on. It can be best described by my past. I’ve been lucky enough to do some cool stuff in my life which has made it harder to accept where I’m at now; this is a huge part of my discovery. High-school was a little crazy being in a “Christian punk-rock band” and all that:It normalized out a little bit  during and after this phase with the introduction of mountainboarding into my life. My parents and girlfriend were highly pleased at this new endeavor as it was obviously much safer than playing rock music for rotary club events!But unfortunately for my wife (and my body), I never quite made it past that stage.

My favorite commercial on TV is not the black man with old spice who switches locations every few seconds. Its not  the darth vader kid with the volkswagon magic or the ex-girlfriend guy on a ski lift who throws the cell phone off into the mountains.

My favorite is that middle-aged dude standing next to a lake with a rope swing, who says “I sure did make some foolish decisions as a teenager, swinging out over those rocks…” He then goes on to sell us the latest and greatest pharmaceutical.  I, however, somehow made it past my teenage years continuing to making foolish decisions jumping over rocks.And this is exactly how I discovered the key. Well, not exactly. I figured out my problem while reminiscing on the Amway business I poured my entire college experience into and failed at. All because I was convinced that happiness was found in having all the time and money one could ever want.  It sucked the life out of me: I put 25,000 miles on my car in 2006, and the stress of complete failure/intense overwork is a major factor in what I believe contributed to my cancer development.*

Night after night I was either forcing myself to go make contacts (prospecting) at gas stations, grocery stores, and anywhere else I could meet people. After burning most of my friend and family contacts that was the only option. My “business mentors” spent hours on the phone with me each evening encouraging me to keep it up, work harder, and focus on my small successes. While I did manage to “go Eagle”, “go 2500 PV”, attend business conventions all across the country, and learn tremendous amounts about sales and positive thinking,  I also went broke and quite keenly embedded my problem into my mind. So what is this problem and the key for moving beyond it you might ask? It’s quite simple, really. I’ve spent much of my life constantly wishing I was at another place in life. Always wanting to get to the next best thing. Perpetual dissatisfaction with life circumstances. Always thinking the next set of circumstances will be better.

My wife and I rushed through college so we could get married and “make it.”  When I got cancer I wanted to forget about it and pretend like it would never come back. After moving to Las Vegas we just had to leave ASAP to get to a ski town, cuz that was the dream. When tourism/income slowed down during the summer we were off to Maui. But our living conditions and income potential in Maui were pretty bad, so we just focused on getting back!! Then, after driving to and spending 2.5 months making $$$$ in Branson, MO, I just had to get back to Park City for snowboarding.

I made it back just in time for my cancer to return with a raging vengeance. And I spent all last year wishing my cancer was gone. Now that my cancer is dying, I immediately assume life should be back to “normal.” Whatever that means. And such were the thoughts I wrote out last Wednesday to the wonderful women that has stuck with me through all of the craziness I’ve just shared with you.

And that’s the key. Super simple; nothing profound. I’ve got to enjoy every stage in life instead of rushing onto the next or constantly trying to relive my past.

But it’s not easy. It’s not easy when I compare my former life of fun, current life, and when I’d like “my future life” to start happening. Whatever that means. The key to solving my problem is becoming content with wherever I’m at in life-even if that means being stuck in a condo all day with a juicer and anti-seizure meds in my pocket at all times.

It means being okay with the fact that yesterday afternoon while walking with my mom, I had to sit down in the street sucking desperately on Ativan to try and stop the soon-coming and without-warning seizure. It means being thankful for the man who helped us get in his car, drove us home, and stood next to me while I involuntarily groaned and convulsed in his back seat.  Poor guy probably about had a heart attack while my mom ran to go get the valium.

Not always wanting to be at another place in life means being thankful for the many blessings that we do have. The number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States is medical costs and 78% of those filers have insurance.** One of my blessings I too soon forget are the the friends and family who care so much about us and give of themselves to make sure we are okay.

Not everyone is blessed with that, and I’m well aware of this truth. Neither words nor tears can possibly express the gratitude and surprise I felt after being sent this 2.5 minute video on Logan’s birthday.

And that’s it. But it’s not easy. However, always wishing I was at a future place in life just isn’t going to cut it anymore. So please pray. For me. For yourself. For us all. And I’ll pray that whatever your current place in life is – even if its not seizures or tumors – I’ll pray that we’ll both be perfectly content with wherever we are at lin life.

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7 Responses to “Another place in life….”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    Bravo! Beautiful photos! Beautiful writing! Beautiful people!

    Choose Happiness & Success!
    Jennifer

  2. Daniel,
    Always remember to make the most of today, Live for today! Know that you can not change the past, but you have the power and the choice of the here and now. You know we understand why and how much you wish for tomorrow to be here and that life will be better in so many ways. Live today and love today as you have said…we pray that each passing moment will be better and you will feel relief from the symptoms and side effects of your GBM. You are fighting a good hard battle and we are proud of your courage! Be Strong/Live Strong! Love to you and Logan

  3. Jane S. Says:

    Daniel,
    YOU have found the KEY!!! Being content is the BEST place to be and it seems the HARDEST to attain.
    May God supply all your needs, (what great friends you have who did the garage sale for you.)
    You are in our DAILY prayers!!
    Love, Jane, Dave and Brent 🙂

  4. Daniel, such powerful words again! Thank you for reminding us to be happy and content, at all times. Prayers for you and Logan always.

  5. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble…” [philippians 4]

    And yes, such crazy contentedness comes only through Christ. He is your strength, Daniel & Logan! You can do all things through Him 🙂

  6. The greater the trial, the greater the Glory God receives on the other side. Your an inspiration my friend. I like what you’ve said about being content where we are. I have recently been studying Ecclesiastes. I think that was Solomon’s conclusion after he screwed up his whole life. Everything is futile except finding happiness in your wife, your work, and your God. That is the only thing THIS world can hope to achieve, and it will continue throughout eternity as that is what God wants to give us: Happiness in our life and actions and thoughts which comes in Him. I think it is tough sometimes to find that happiness when you are facing disease or death. Even when you lost a loved one, or people are getting divorced. How can you be happy in that circumstance. I do think it is possible, but I don’t know if it is right or wrong. People then talk about how joy and happiness are different, I’m not sure about that, I’m not saying they are wrong, I’m just not sure. Then there is the quote that says that everything has a season. Like there is a season for anger, or frustration, or war, or whatever… I think that makes sense, but how long are those seasons supposed to last. There was a woman who’s husband died in the office and she was just devastated, when we asked how long it had been, she said 10 yrs. That seems ridiculous, but can anyone put a start and end to the season? Especially for someone that is dealing with cancer…I think that would be crap to say that we can know when someone needs to give up, or hold on, or whatever. I’m not really saying anything with a point, I’m just writing stuff that I think and feel right now. If anything I’m confused with it all, and with how God works. I know that there was a time in my life where I was sick for the better part of half the year every year with colds, flus, and headaches. During that time I yelled at God a lot, and I questioned and wrestled, but looking back, I do relish the experience of growing closer to him even if I was pissed at Him sometimes. It shows that I hadn’t become indifferent to God, which is worse than angry, because indifference means nothing but at least in anger, you are in relationship. All I really know is I love you man, I can’t imagine what you are going through, especially with everyone telling you what to do and not do, but if you believe in the God that I believe in…I think a few sucky years on this earth is going to be worth it in heaven. I think that can sometimes be a sobering thought to give you enough gumption to laugh at the Devil as if that’s the best he can do to one of the son’s of God (that would be you)! One day we are going to be sitting under a tree in heaven and the two of us will be trying to conjure up our greatest trials here on earth, but it will be too tough, they will seem like weaksauce when we are there, and with expressions of joy we’ll say in unison: Heaven is cheap enough!!

    The thought of this, being with you in heaven laughing about the poopy earth, now that makes me happy 🙂

  7. Wow, Daniel. You are so right. You are not alone in the rush to get ahead in life, in thinking that something better is always waiting around the corner. God told us to be content with whatever we have in whatever situation, but not many of us listen–until we have to. Thank you for this reminder. Thank you for creating this blog. I wish I’d known about it sooner. You are a talented writer. I hope today finds you in better health than yesterday. Prayers for you and Logan.

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