By Guest Columnist KEVIN R. MCGEE, a motivational speaker, business coach and blogger
As 2016 begins, many people make resolutions about the coming year. My family is no different. Our resolution is pretty simple. It’s to show more compassion for others and to find and fulfill our purpose.
Last year, on April 22, we found out that my daughter, Kayla, had a rare form of kidney cancer and would have to undergo two major surgeries to remove tumors from her body. She would also have to undergo a week of radiation therapy and eight months of chemotherapy.
Did I mention that she was 12 years old at the time? It was a challenging and painful experience for all of us.
However, as the year ended, things began to change for us. On Monday, Dec. 28, Kayla had her final MRI imaging scans to determine if any cancer was still present. It was not!
That was an exceptional day for all of us. The next day, she also had outpatient surgery to remove the port implant, which was used to administer the chemotherapy treatment.
As we sat in the waiting room while Kayla was undergoing surgery, we were surrounded by the monitors, hospital staff, ER signs and many of the very same sights and sounds that we had experienced nine months earlier when this journey first began.
It was a striking reminder of how far we have come and what we have been through as a family. Unfortunately, it was also a reminder of all of the pain we have experienced as a family over the past few months.
Kayla has had to endure physical pain, and the rest of our family has shared in her emotional pain – plus there was the stress of dealing with it all. I must admit that, as a parent, you feel some level of physical pain and heartache watching your child go through something like this while you stand helplessly by.
But we found purpose in this trial. Our purpose is to, in some way, aid others in need. Focusing only on ourselves causes us to miss opportunities to live in our purpose. I honestly believe that our purpose on this earth is not to make more money for ourselves, to have more things for ourselves or to live our lives focused on self.
Many of us base our New Year’s resolutions off of lifelong goals, personal trials, insecurities or uncomfortable circumstances in our life. We want to lose more weight, make more money, be more successful, end destructive habits etc. Our resolutions are focused on how we improve and help ourselves. And there is nothing wrong with that.
But some of our resolutions should be directed towards others. How many resolutions in your life have focused on helping others and not yourself? Have you ever had a resolution to help more people, to be more compassionate, to do more volunteer work or to become a mentor? If you are like most, then you have not had many.
One thing our family has gained from this experience with cancer is a renewed sense of purpose and compassion – individually and collectively – as a family. My family has been more reflective, prayerful, faithful, and open to receiving what life has for us than we have ever in our lives.
We have thought very deeply about why we have had to go through such an experience. In my analysis, it seems that while it is uncomfortable, pain is necessary. I believe that in life we experience pain so that we can be pushed towards our purpose.
I am convinced that we go through trials and tribulations so that we can have increased perspective about life and greater compassion for others. But in order to do that we have to look at our circumstances from the right perspective.
When we are faced with challenges, our response should not be, “Why me!” It should be, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” Or perhaps, “What is the higher purpose for what I am going through?”
If we are honest with ourselves, we will see that the times in our lives during which we have made the most rapid and committed change have been the result of some sort of pain or discomfort.
The fact is that sometimes bad things happen to good people. But bad things happen to good people so that the good people can be motivated to do great things for others.
We all have the capacity to do great things and display compassion. All we lack is the desire and commitment to do so. We should have more compassion for others and spend as much time as possible discerning the true purpose for our lives. And once we know what the purpose is, we should waste no time pursuing it.
Note to readers: Kevin McGee’s journey in live has led him to be involved in several endeavors a serial entrepreneur, a college trustee, an executive chef, a speaker, a mentor, a blogger and an advocate for pediatric cancer research. His website is: www.kevinRmcgee.com