Meet Lori - an amazing, Godly woman who has inspired me more than she will ever know. I didn't know Lori very well. In fact, I really only met her one time. Dr. Carrie Alfieri at Pinnacle Eye Associates hosts a Patient Appreciation Day every November. For the last two years she has brought me in to take complementary family photos of her clients. Some of them come dressed and ready for the portrait, and some don't. Lori's family was one of the latter. They had come in for Dr. Alfieri's other gifts to her patients that day. Lori had been fighting cancer for 6 years. Once they walked in, her husband asked her to take a picture with the kids. She protested because she wasn't dressed for the picture and her kids were in play clothes. I assured her that I would pose her kids to hide their play clothes and make a beautiful picture. She reluctantly agreed. This was in November 2011.
Lori went to be with Jesus last week. This is the last family picture they had made with her. I received a call from her dear friend asking me to print two more pictures. Each of her beautiful children had asked for their own copy in their room. They wanted that last picture with their mom.
Dear friends - you don't know what tomorrow will bring. In November, Lori's family didn't know she would be with them for only 4 more months. She didn't want the picture because they weren't dressed for it. I know I preach this too much, but friends - your kids don't care what you look like. They just love you. If something were to happen to you, they will never look at that picture and say "oh mom should have lost 50 pounds". They will instead hug that picture and cry and thank you that you took the time to capture a memory with them. The only person that care what we look like is us. PLEASE don't let insecurity and vanity keep you from blessing your children with what they really want.
Dear Lori - I didn't know you well at all. But, I know many of your dear friends. Through them you have inspired me. I want to share with everyone the things I have learned from you:
- I can shine the love and light of Jesus whether I feel good or not. You never, ever complained about your cancer in seven years. Instead you always were concerned about your friends.
- Instead of "why me?", you would ask "why not me"? Why should I think I should be exempt from pain and suffering? Instead, of feeling bad for me, I can give back to others.
- Being ever present for my children is more important than my comfort. You never took medication that would cloud your brain and keep you from being fully there for your kids. You suffered in pain, but never showed it and gave your kids all of you.
- I can pay full attention with others speak with me - you had a gift of making everyone feel that what they had to say was the most important thing in the world. Instead of allowing my mind to go 20 directions at once, I can slow down and really listen to my family, my children, and my friends. After all, isn't that what is really important?