Take stock of the important things, and never let them go!

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So it is 2.43am and I can’t sleep. Which, of course, means I am here talking to you guys!

The last 12 months have been a rollercoaster for me and my family, and, as for many people, there have been more downs than ups. One of the huge ups was the wedding of my sister. With that union came a whole new branch to the family- one that I am honoured to be a part of even in a small way. Unfortunately we recently discovered my new sister-in-law, who is still just a teenager, has cancer.

It is a dreaded word around the globe, and unfortunately it is also a word that most of us have been a little too close to before. But there is one good thing that inevitably comes out of cancer, and that is the strength of the love shown to all those affected by its touch. People run entire marathons just for other people battling the disease. Families pull together, dig deep, and find strength and courage they never knew they had. Friends show how much they care, and never, not for one second, are they allowed to forget how much they are loved.

There are no words that will make things better, no magic cure to remove the hurt. But sometimes just knowing that you can, and will, pull through, no matter how impossible it seems, is enough. That all important light at the end of the tunnel is always shining whether or not we can see it yet.

My dad once said to me that to make a beautiful diamond shine, it first has to be hit by many rocks, it must be polished, and bits must be cut away. That is after it has been hardened under extreme pressure for an age. After all that though, you are left with a product that can cut steel, shatter concrete, and is one of the hardest materials known to man. Life may crush and batter us, but we can make the end product something of beauty if we work hard. And there is no doubt in my mind that this young lady will shine as bright as the stars by the end of this journey.

No matter what hardships you face, keeping an eye on the prize and feeling the love of those around you will carry you when you feel weak.

As my family are Jehovah’s Witnesses, I thought it only appropriate to include a song from their Songbook. The lyrics are hauntingly beautiful and full of hope. Just what we need here I think! It is called ‘Keep Your Eyes on the Prize’.

1. When eyes of blind ones see again
And ears of deaf ones hear again,
When deserts blossom as the rose
And from parched ground fresh water flows,
When lame ones leap just like the hart,
When loved ones never have to part,
Such blessed times you’ll realize,
If you keep your eyes on the prize.

2. When tongues of mute ones speak again,
When old ones will be young again,
When earth will yield her rich increase
And all good things will never cease,
When songs of children fill the air,
When joy and peace are ev’rywhere,
Then, too, you’ll see the dead arise,
If you keep your eyes on the prize.

3. When wolves and lambs will feed as one,
When bears and calves bask in the sun,
A mere young boy will lead them all,
And they will heed his childish call.
When tears belong to yesterday,
When fears and pain have passed away,
You’ll see how God these things supplies,
If you keep your eyes on the prize.

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