Chris and I have watched on over the past 9 months as a movement swept through my sister’s community near Philadelphia. The movement began when a mother took her 8 year old son to the doctor after noticing that the left side of his face was drooping. Following many tests, the boy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. My sister is good friends with the mother; the boy was in my niece’s school class; and both families attend the same church. The boy chose to fight the cancer and underwent several surgeries, as well as chemo and the newest therapies available at CHOP. As the community learned about his story, #PrayforDominic gained momentum. My sister was a part of organizing fundraising, while Dominic’s mother established a website and a Facebook page, which now has over 20,000 followers. All were touched by Dominic’s story and his faith, and the amount of support and following that grew was overwhelming. The news picked up his story, and many Professional sport players in Philly reached out and visited Dominic in the hospital. So many were praying for and following along as Dominic struggled through so many treatments and surgeries, with his loving parents and younger brother with spina bifida by his side.
Two weeks ago today, Dominic passed on to his heavenly father, while his parents held him, softly singing Jesus Loves Me in a hospital room.
They livestreamed his Celebration of Life service. My sister organized the food for the thousands who came, Dominic’s favorites: soft pretzels and gummies.
With a strength that comes from divine intervention, Dominic’s father spoke at the service. He spoke lovingly about his son, but he also had a message. His message was an insistence that the listeners be intentional. He reminded us how important it is to spend our time on the right priorities: God first, family second. He related to other parents that most children will not grow up to be professional sports players, but they will be fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters. He placed emphasis on raising children to know God and to know family.
My sister’s Pastor also spoke at the service, and while there were many phrases that stuck with me from his message, one that continues to come to mind is that life is about depth, not duration.
While none of us know the duration of our lives, we do make choices daily about the depth. We choose how we spend our time and money – two clear indicators of our priorities.
How we spend our time and money completely changed when we became fulltime RVers. Before RVing, we lived the daily to-do list. We lived meeting meaningless expectations. We spent our time on things, not people. We were too consumed with our own checklist that we missed opportunities to help people standing right in front of us. We filled our lives with meaningless busyness that was such a drain on us that when it came to meaningful things, we wanted to do them “quick” and “easy”.
My autoimmune disease diagnosis was the first wake up call for us (and despite all the pain, suffering and loss it has caused us, I can now call it a blessing). But it wasn’t until we became fulltime RVers that we really were able to live out our intentions on a daily basis, share our lives with you and so many others, and truly see for the first time how much our perspectives on busyness and expectations have changed.
Now, you don’t have to be a fulltime RVer to check your priorities and focus on what is meaningful. Evaluate how you are spending your time and money. The next time that you are shortchanging something meaningful to ensure a quick and easy solution, question what meaningless items are stealing the joy from the meaningful things in your life.
But, if you are considering RVing, our advice is, stop waiting, move forward with intentional purpose.
We don’t advocate irresponsibility. We want people to get out of debt first and make responsible choices. But, if you are at a point where it can happen, then make it happen. There is a whole world out there waiting for you. Choose to actively participate. Choose to openly put yourself out in this world. Choose to be in the moment and focus on the people around you. Choose to learn about this country for yourself. Choose to walk in the struggles of others and lend a hand. Choose to experience. Choose to love.
And regardless of whether you are RVing or not, I hope that we all can take a lesson away from Dominic and focus on the depth of our lives as we enter a new year. Remember, you can’t control the duration, but you can choose to impact the depth.
For more on Dominic, visit the website here: Pray For Dominic