I didn't want to think that applied to Ryan. Nor did I want to believe it.
I talked to my friends about the prophecy given to me. They didn't want to believe it either.
Then I talked to Ryan.
He knew it too.
But didn't want to say.
We spent the last six months of our lives together, living deeply and drinking life in.
What do you do when you are told you have Stage IV Stomach Cancer?
What do you do when the treatments stop working?
What do you say when the end draws near at age 40?
What do you tell your children who are ages 4 and 1?
How do you cope with impending doom...
day after day,
month after month,
year after year
for almost 5 years?
What would you do, if it were you?
Well, when I asked Ryan these questions, late at night in June, all snuggled together, thinking of our shortened future together. Then another question summarized my searching...
"What would you change if you knew there were only six months left?" I asked, holding my breath.
"Nothing," he replied. "Not one thing. I love our lives. I wouldn't change it a bit."
That striving for normalcy, consistency, and a sense of status quo drove everything in both of our lives. We focused on glorifying God, drawing close to Him, as well as each other, and raising our two small kids.
We let go of everything we no longer felt would glorify God or draw us closer together as a family. And we stopped running the rat race, trying to keep up with the Joneses, and impress everyone else.
We learned how to say no to even some good things that weren't wrong to do, just wrong for our family's limited time together.
After June, I felt that each conversation he had was like removing shoelaces from his workboots.
As each conversation concluded,
another lace slipped silently out of an eyelet,
untying his life from the work he was sent here to do,
until the laces were separated from the boots that remained here on earth -
an empty shell that had carried him very far in this lifetime.
The other day as I was driving home from church, not long after Ryan went to be with the Lord, a car in front of me made a right turn, and left a plume of black smoke in its wake.
Then it disappeared.
The fourth book of James, in verse fourteen says:
"....whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."
Ryan's life touched mine more than anyone else on this planet. We knew our time together was short. We fought hard to make that time as distraction-free and not-taking-anything-for-granted as possible, unplugging from the noise and plugging into the Power source of it all.
My prayer is that as the Lord reveals His will to you for your life, the limited number of hours He has given you, for all of our days are numbered, that you follow hard after Him, so you, too, can fulfill your job here on earth and hear the Lord say to you:
"Well done, good an faithful servant. Enter into the presence of the Lord."
Just as Ryan Waters did, on November 27, 2016 at 5:13 p.m.