Ordinary people doing Extra-ordinary things.
Lesley left a huge imprint in my heart exactly one year ago. She had bounced through the door of Sisters Thrift Boutique with bags of clothing to donate for people living on the street.
In 2011, I had met Lesley at one of NightShift’s Information & Orientation Sessions, at which time she shared that she was a breast cancer survivor and wanted to give back in some way. At our second encounter, Lesley didn’t have good news to share. Her enemy had returned in a huge way: stage 4 cancer. Terminal. My heart sunk. Yet during our conversation, I remember feeling confused. Here she was, full of life, grateful and praising Jesus! Her exuberance and enthusiasm was infectious. She told me her secret.
The next day, I shared some of Lesley’s story with the group that I was speaking to at Missions Fest. I talked about how God had used an ordinary person to do extra-ordinary things. God had given Lesley her own personal mission field in spite of her life-threatening challenges.
Lesley had created a “to do list” that she reviewed each morning before she crawled out of bed. The list gave her purpose and helped to take her focus off her pain. It inspired her to not ‘feel sorry’ for herself:
- A Must do
- A Family do
- A Friend do
- A Fun do
- A Me do
The first point, ‘must do’, meant she had to do something that day like prepare her will or take the steps to settle her estate – putting provisions in place for her daughter after her passing. Secondly, a ‘family do’, to plan something special with her family that would bless them somehow though this difficult time. Thirdly, a ‘friend do’, to pick up the phone and call a friend to see how they were doing. Fourthly, a ‘fun do’, something that would be fun, make her and those around her laugh and play. And finally, a ‘me do’, something special planned just for her.
I’m not sure how Lesley accomplished these amazing things every day. But I’m sure she did. What amazes me more is that her plan was developed around blessing others, to lessen their pain and burden of coping with the harsh reality that she was dying.
Did you notice that Lesley was the last item on the list? She told me that cancer could not and would not kill her spirit. She had made a choice to love and bless others first in the midst of her battle. No complaining, no feeling sorry for herself.
As I write these words this morning, my heart aches and I choke back tears. Lesley’s unselfishness has humbled and inspired me beyond.
I wonder how many others were touched by the ‘sparkle’ in her eyes and the Love that flowed through her.
Lesley is now free of pain – dancing in the arms of her Saviour.