Happy New Year One Life Family. You matter.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season filled with joyful fellowship and fun filled moments that will be cherished memories for years to come. I certainly won’t ever forget this holiday season myself. What started out as joyful, quickly turned south on Christmas day.
The holidays started out like any other year. It came too early, as we bought our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving and decorated the house with FAR too much. (It is not easy keeping a “real” Christmas tree alive for that long). We began attending Christmas party, after Christmas party, after Christmas party, after Christmas party, after…. you get it. This going on while planning for OUR Christmas party at our house, and buying, prepping and planning logistics for the in-laws and the in-laws’ in-laws Christmas parties. Whhaaaa??!! Then as the holidays rolled on, we grew tired of hiding our Grinch faces and bad attitudes, just hoping the day we all were anticipating, and waiting for, planning for, scarifying and buying for would just come already! Can I get an amen?
Then that day comes. Christmas morning. It was magical with my five-year-old son, Tate, and my beautiful wife of nine years, Kristen, who is pregnant with my angel princess daughter, Ava, due Feb 16!! While watching Tate tear into presents, I drank an entire pot of coffee after staying up until 4:30 am. putting together some toys we bought him… but also trying to sneak a peek at Santa 😉 After we finished our own Christmas morning, we went to do Christmas with grandparents and in-laws, where the children were overwhelmed by more presents and toys, and the adults (me) indulged in far too much food and Christmas goodies. Can I get an amen again?! If I’m being honest, the days leading up to Christmas, and even Christmas Day itself, felt a little like mayhem… the “Progressive Insurance” commercial.
What I’ve left out until now, is that six days before Christmas Day, my mom went in for a routine outpatient surgery which ended up being more than what they thought and landing her three days in the hospital. She got out just in time to be home for the weekend leading up to Christmas Day that Monday, but she was bed ridden the entire time and in a lot of pain. Well, after the mayhem of Christmas Day had subsided, once home that Monday evening, changed into pajama pants, hoodie and slippers, and reflecting on the day… I get a text from my dad:
“We’re on our way to the E.R. Your momma may be septic. Her incisions from the surgery are leaking. Doctor said to get here as fast as we could!”
Me: “On my way!”
Not sure what to expect, but after seeing a somewhat look of terror on my wife’s face, who is a nurse, and being briefly educated about the dangers of sepsis, it was a fast but long drive to the hospital. Upon arrival, we were still holding on to hope this was not what we thought it was, and there would be a “quick fix” and we all just go home and enjoy the restful part of the holidays while bringing in the New Year. Well, sometimes life just doesn’t cooperate with our plans, and it also has a grim way of slowing us down sometimes to focus on and remember “what matters”.
That night, Christmas Day, at 12 pm. my mom underwent emergency surgery because she was in fact septic. After a two-hour surgery, the doctor came out and let us know that the surgery went well, we were not out of the woods and that there would be a long road to recovery. He also told us that had we waited 24 hours to bring her in, she would have died.
DEAD…. Never to be here again to celebrate another Christmas mayhem with her children and grand babies. Never again to have the opportunity to cook too much food, plan or attend too many parties or spoil her grandchildren with too many presents and shower them with love, hugs and kisses until their cheeks fall off. All of it, GONE!!
My mom spent 2 weeks in ICU, and as of January 10th and four surgeries later, she is still in the hospital. Hours and days at the hospital, at home or alone on a deer stand forced me to deal with this question we too often do not contemplate or allow to drive our decisions or response… What Matters?
First and foremost, YOU matter. You matter to God, and what matters most is that He matters most to you as well. Start there!
You matter to your team. You matter to your family. You matter to me!
Your time matters! It’s not guaranteed! How will you spend it in 2018?
Your growth matters. Your development matters. Physically, mentally and spiritually these things matter!
The Joneses don’t matter, but your family and friends do! Stop trying to be or keep up with them (Joneses) in 2018. Just be the awesomeness that God made you to be and love the greatness sees in you! He made YOU in HIS image! WHHHAAAAA!!!!!??? Do you not know that He’s obsessed with you and wants to work in and through you in 2018! Wake up and know that your life matters each day you have breath in your lungs and a beat in your heart! Make the most of it!
Your attitude matters. Be grateful for what you have, more than you are bitter or sad for what you do not. Learn to find joy in the little things and your life can be more joyful than a millionaire or billionaire! That’s not bogus, it’s truth.
Your relationships matter! I know some of you that will read this have lost close friends and loved ones, so you know this is true. Your relationships are the greatest reward on planet earth! First your relationship with God, but then with one another. They should be filled with love. Love every minute you have because tomorrow that minute may not ever exist. Cherish the chaos along with the rest, because one day when you or they are gone, either one will exist no more, and you will wish you had just one more year of Christmas Chaos with them to share.
Right now, at the beginning of 2018, I want you to self-reflect and ask yourself, what matters to me? What mattered to me the most in 2017 and what would I like to matter more in 2018?
Personally, for me, in 2018, what matters most is my PURPOSE. This is the verse that God has given me to hold onto this year.
“But I have raised you up for this very PURPOSE, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Exodus 9:16
In closing, know that I love you all. I’m grateful for each one of you. I thank you deeply from the depths of my heart, those that have prayed for my mom! You all matter, and you all matter a great deal to me!
Ted DiBiase, Jr.
Vice President of Business Development
One Life America