The Edge of Life


13 Aug The Edge of Life

Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Never in my life did I ever think I’d be here.  I’m a city kid that went to high school in Montebello, CA, how in the world did I end up in Milwaukee? I dropped out of college to be a pastor when I was 19 (Never became one, by the way), and now I’m exchanging fist bumps and hugs with a little girl fighting Leukemia.

How is this my life?

Honestly, I have no clue, but I’m never going to wake up from this dream.

Over the last week, I’ve been able to meet hundreds of incredible people who shared thoughtful, heartfelt words of gratitude about Gamerosity and the role I get to play in it.  Our first ever GameOn Day outside of our HQ (Medford, OR) was a huge success.  It was unbelievable watching so many families and friends and loved ones get together and live out our vision for this day.  All we wanted to do was give children and families a chance to simply BE KIDS!  To enjoy life and childhood and all the things cancer tries to steal away.

We were at it for months leading up to the event.  Facebook Messages at all hours of the day with acquaintances who would later become friends and after that, become family.  Phone calls, emails, daily check-in’s and even challenging conversations about accomplishing goals were exchanged with a group of 9 individuals who I believe shared my heart for Childhood Cancer.  It all culminated last Saturday as all these plans turned into reality and a field full of people on a college campus enjoyed life together.

“This is the edge of life.” I felt myself saying and thinking over and over again.  Truthfully, a part of me doesn’t know what it means, but I definitely know what it feels like.  It’s the depth of emotion and the line we walk on between generosity and vulnerability.  It means exposing your heart and allowing the gamut of emotions to be experienced, unguarded.  It’s the place many don’t allow themselves to go because it’s too difficult articulating, managing, and explaining away these feelings.

All we cared about was bringing joy, and all we experienced was gratitude reciprocated.  It’s so humbling to be a part of, it breaks me to feel all this emotion and not know precisely how to approach it all, other than to fall on my knees and thank God for allowing me to be as broken as these families need me to be.  And truly, I was.  Broken and humbled.

I met so many families. So many traveled from so far just to introduce themselves and share their love for our (apparently not-so) little non-profit.  One family traveled 4 hours each way to come hang out.  Others, a couple hours.  How can I not thank them and be humble for such genuine acts of love?

How can I not be overwhelmed when a sweet young girl sees me at Children’s Hospital and recognizes me because we delivered a Hero Package to her 2 years ago?  How in the world can she even remember who I am?  I’m just some dude!  How can facilitating special packages mean so much to so many people?  I mean, a lot of people ship packages to children?  I don’t have a unique mission.  What makes me so lucky to care and be cared for?  I don’t know, honestly.

All I really know and care about is that I’m going to stand on the Edge, be vulnerable and allow God to use me as He sees fit.  I promise, I won’t protect my feelings, I’ll take it all in.  The joy, the good times, the pain, the bad times. The heartbreak and the hustle, I’m going to live in it because one day, I’m going to die.  And when that happens, I want to be remembered for doing the Baymax Big Hero 6 fist bump with Brooklyn.  I want to be remembered for giving a 15 year old boy with Leukemia an Xbox 360 just because.  I want to be remembered for the moments that no cameras are around and I take a terminal 12 year old boy to see Ninja Turtles because I think he’d like it.  I want to be remembered for living on the Edge of Life, inhaling opportunities to love, exhaling gratitude.  Every moment.

Is it for you?  It’s for all of us.  I don’t believe God made us to play it safe when it comes to being vulnerable with our emotions and helping others.  I don’t believe God has called us to passively care for others.  We weren’t made to sit on the sidelines and provide commentary, nor were we made to protect our emotions for fear of seeming human.  You were made for this.  Whatever it is that stirs your heart that helps other people, get all the way to the edge.  If you fail, fail gloriously. You’ll find out more about yourself than you ever have your whole life.  You’re capable of so much good, you just have to be okay with the pain of helping others, because the purpose in the pain is so rich.

I’m no one special.  I’m the leader of a non-profit that empowers children with cancer, no idea why the Board still let’s me do it, other than they know I’ve allowed my identity to be fully engulfed in this process.  And if you see me, I hope we can encourage one another to do great things for others.  I hope you know I’m just like you, and I pray we get to see the world get just a little more life-y-er together.