Thursday, March 31, 2016

My friend, Zach

I’ve had people tell me that they are inspired by how I live my life.  They’ve said that seeing me maintain a positive attitude despite my challenges inspires them.  Those complements are as powerful as they are humbling.  And though I’m never quite sure how to respond to such kind praises, I always feel grateful to know I’ve helped uplift someone.

Today I’d like to tell you about someone who uplifts me; my friend Zach.

I met Zach at church in Virginia.  We weren’t bosom buddies, but the friendship came easy; we were similar in age, our kids got along well and our wives were friends.  Zach and his family are the kind of people you always feel good around.  His wife, Ginet, makes these awesome chocolate marshmallow cookies that I absolutely cannot stop myself from pigging out on.  And, wouldn’t you know, whenever I really needed a cookie, like when I was struggling to recover from surgery and life had me feeling down, there’d be a knock at the door and Casey would open it to find Ginet and the kids standing there with a plate of goodies.

Time passed and we both moved, Zach ended up in Colorado and I landed in California.  We followed each other via the wonders of Facebook, which was all good until last year when I read an update status that shocked me; Zach was diagnosed with cancer.

Over the months that have followed, my courageous friend and his brave wife have graciously allowed friends and family to keep appraised of their happenings through a blog.  In reading their words, I have had the tremendous blessing of not only staying informed of Zach’s progress, but of witnessing his/their strength.

The dignity, honesty and fortitude with which my friend is battling cancer are a testament to the might of the human spirit.  To the might of HIS spirit.  Some posts openly discuss hardship and disappointment, others celebrate advances and express optimism surrounding his treatments – all reaffirm gratitude for friends, family, faith and prayer.  Each specifically acknowledges the personal growth and spiritual development that come as a direct consequence of maintaining an eternal focus. 

These days, I find myself thinking of Zach and feeling encouraged, hopeful and determined.  There’s just something about seeing him getting out there and getting it done.  Some days he feels down, other days he feels up; but he is never defeated.

Zach never stops.  And because he never stops, he never ceases to press forward, never ceases to make strides and never ceases to inspire.

Fight back Zach; we’re all riding with you.

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