Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
The start of another Cubs season brings out so many different feelings for me on opening day. The one that stands out the most is the feeling of ‘Hope Springs Eternal’. There are many baseball reasons to think this but for me, the feeling is more of a statement about life. For the past 9 seasons, I am reminded of the year 2005. That year sticks out for me for many reasons as it was a life changing, new normal defining year.
One event in 2005 was The White Sox winning the World Series. As a Cubs fan, I was not celebrating this accomplishment but truly I was happy about this for some White Sox fans friends of mine. I’m sure they will be happy for me if/when the Cubs ever win the World Series. The downside of the Sox winning it before the Cubs is that I knew that I would never stop hearing about this from all the Sox fans that I know. This has been proven correct year after year after year. Prior to 2005, it was an even playing field. Both teams had gone forever without a championship but now the Sox had broken their streak. Welcome to my new normal of having a World Series thrown in my face regularly.
2005 was also the year that I got to be a model for something called the “Colondar.” This is a calendar of young colon cancer survivors. This photo shoot weekend was one of the best experiences of my life. You can read about it here.
Being in the Colondar was an amazing experience and it changed my life forever. It introduced me to a group of people that “get it” and helped me feel less isolated. Having cancer, especially at a young age, will redefine what “normal” is and how we move forward from our diagnosis date forward.
Shortly after returning from New York and my Colondar shoot, I got divorced. I was married for almost 13 years and to say that the divorce rocked my world would truly not do justice to it. However, I am not going to go into details of my divorce here other to say that I will certainly own my part in it. Things are never as simple as they appear on the surface and the truth is usually somewhere in the middle. Needless to say, I needed to redefine normal. So, as Forrest Gump says “That’s all I have to say about that.”
The biggest thing in my life actually happened in 2005. September 11, 2005 to be exact. That is the day that I went to Harvest Bible Chapel for the first time and met Amy in the shuttle parking lot. It was as if God sent an Angel there to wait for me. People can say it was a strange coincidence but I don’t believe that for a second.
Here is a God At Work Video that Harvest did about my testimony.
Too many things went into both of us being in that parking lot at that specific time. What’s funny is that she told me she normally went to the 11:15 service but went to 9am service that day because she was going to the White Sox game with her dad that day. Thankfully, she did say she was a Cubs fan. Not sure how things would have gone if she rooted for the South Side.
To summarize 2005 in a nutshell, I met some amazing people who also had the same cancer that I had. I experienced my 13 year marriage come to an end with a divorce. I went to a new church and God had my future wife (and technically Lucas, Leah, and Payton) waiting there for me. I started a relationship with Jesus Christ that started me down the path of going to Moody Bible to get my Bachelors in Bible Studies so I can serve the Lord even more when I retire from the fire department.
I would say that 2005 was a pretty impactful year. A very big lesson to not get so caught up in the normal we have going on. It’s through the ups and downs of life that we need to keep redefining what our “normal” is.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
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