Best is Yet to Come

As we turned the page to 2015, I couldn’t help but feel excitement over a blank canvas, a chance to begin again. I spent the first few days chewing over my ideas for a blog post…about a fresh start, positive attitude, and gratefulness that we get to hit the reset button every January. I was planning a mini-pep talk to encourage us to move forward with great anticipation. And then I woke up to a text telling me Stuart Scott had died. It felt like a sucker punch to the gut. Even now, it’s still hard to believe he passed away. I always knew if anyone could beat cancer by sheer will, it would be Stuart. He attacked this disease all three times he was diagnosed, finding motivation in his family and friends and a job he loved, and fighting back with a vengeance. He literally gave it everything he had.

A cultural icon for sports fans and athletes of this generation, Stuart was a superstar in the broadcasting industry. He helped to usher in a new, hip, cool era of SportsCenter and left his fingerprints all over this business. Plenty of people wanted to BE him; yet in my encounters with him as a colleague, he was kind, friendly, unassuming. Above all else, he was an inspiration. Like thousands of others, I was reduced to tears listening to him accept the Jimmy V Perseverance Award in July: “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live. So live. Live! Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you…The best thing I have ever done, the best thing I will ever do is be a dad…I can’t ever give up because I can’t leave my daughters.” Those weren’t just words for Stuart. He walked the walk. Even as the cancer and treatments took their toll on his body, he showed up to work and did his job with the same energy and gusto. I was always amazed that he could muster the strength for MMA training sessions immediately after chemotherapy. Who does that?? The same guy who said a few short months ago: “Fighting is winning. Not quitting…not saying, ‘Oh I have cancer. I can’t do anything. I’m just going to lay down and cry a pity party for myself.’ That to me is the only way you lose.”

Even with his awesome attitude, with a heart and mind equipped to fight and inspire, with all the support of his family and friends, Stuart couldn’t add another year to his life. How is that right? How is that FAIR?? The obvious response is that life is not fair. Nothing is guaranteed. There is no way to be sure we’ll wake up tomorrow. Some of us may be forewarned of death, but we can’t be sure of that either. The idea that you can fight so hard and live the right way and yet only survive to 49 years old…it’s heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and discouraging. I can understand how some live in fear, afraid to take any kind of risk. And it’s not only battles with cancer that rip your heart out. If you watch the news these days, you know our world is rife with tragedy: plane crashes and disappearances, senseless terror attacks, school shootings, domestic violence, deadly wars overseas, and horrific natural disasters. Beyond depressing…almost like the odds are stacked against us. But one thing I know without a doubt: we can’t truly live while worrying about when the end will come. In order to create an existence with impact, we have to adopt Stuart’s philosophy to fight like hell, attack every day and every challenge. We have to believe the best is yet to come.

Not every day is extraordinary. Not every week gives you the opportunity to change your life or leave an indelible mark. Not every year is one you cherish and look back on with fond memories. Some days, weeks, and years are flat out hard. We slog through them, wondering if we’ll ever see the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s why I always love turning the page on January first: it’s a chance to fix the mistakes I made the year before. But HOW do we keep moving forward and building on the past? How do we make the most of the time we’ve been given? Instead of my resolutions,  I’ll call them reminders, my ways to ensure 2015 is NOT just another year.

Laugh a LOT. Don’t take myself too seriously. Try new adventures. Stop procrastinating those phone calls and emails I need to make to family and friends. Don’t make excuses. Choose my battles; not every battle is worth the effort. Let it go. Refuse to waste time fretting over the small and inconsequential. Smile at everyone. Take time for a kind word. Pay attention to the world around me because it’s BEAUTIFUL! Stop to help when I’m in the right place at the right time. Go with my gut and rely on my instincts. Don’t listen to the negative or the destructive or the people who want to tear me down. Share my heart, my struggles, my wisdom. Pray more. Be open, genuine, transparent, gracious. Forgive myself when I mess up; forgive others even if they never ask. Reach out. Make new friends. Sing loudly. Remember who and what really matter. Dump the pride; stay humble. Don’t be in such a hurry. LOVE with all my heart and soul. Cling to my faith and God’s promises. Know there’s ALWAYS hope; it’s never too late.

With no guarantee of tomorrow, I will stay thankful for what I have and count my blessings in this moment. And I WILL believe with my whole heart the best is yet to come.







8 Responses to “Best is Yet to Come”

  1. dont ever worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow takes care of itself
    live today.

  2. Thank you for the good reminders, Amy. Sometimes, the “sing loudy” thoughts are hard to remember. But these things are important.

    Like Stuart, I have two girls, they’re 23 and 21. When I was diagnosed, the hardest thing for me to do was to tell them, because I knew they’d be upset. But we found some humor and some hope. The woman who was then my girlfriend and is now my wife was the one who really made the difference. She was the one who said the daily attitude is so important. The refuse to lose idea. She told me I was brave, I don’t think so, I just did what the Doctors told me to do. She and my daughters were really the brave ones.

    2 surgeries, lots of chemo and 35 radiation treatments later, I’m here wasting your time with a blog post reply.

    And I completely agree with you about the unfairness. Why is my college buddy gone? Why did Randy get hit by a car? Why am I still here? It makes no sense.

    I told my wife I feel I’m “between cancers” and she sort of freaked because that’s not the attitude she wants us to have. I explained it isn’t defeatist, and it isn’t wrong, its just….I’m prepared this time, and some of what made the first time difficult is that we weren’t prepared. Now I’m ready to sing, “Bring on your wrecking ball” and I will fight again, should it come to it. And in the meantime, I will try to keep the suggestions you make in mind. It is a new year and a new chance to get lots right. Thanks for writing, this one has been an inspiration.

  3. Ms. Lawrence,
    Keep it simple, live everyday “respectfully with a purpose!” and all that was meant for you have it will happen. Open your soul and let HIS love bathe your every senses so in turn with your grace and smile you will do the same unto others! Take your shoes off and let your soles feel the power of the path YOU choose to walk on! I will always measure you for the imprint that you have left in heart! Thank you.

  4. Amy, I think I speak for more than one here when I say, some of us have been waiting and thinking about what you would have to say in this blog post. I have been waiting for a week anyways. As a Canadian, we do not have as much access to some of the programs and names you guys do, but I knew who Stuart was, and his name is in my iPod in that classic audio fun ESPN mash up that is legendary LOL.

    Your 2nd last paragraph sums up nicely what you hope to achieve, the effective things you hope to live by – some very good do’s and do nots – and I know I will be applying many of those this year. Indeed I applied many of them purposefully LAST year, as a community activist… I realized I had spent so much time fighting for things for my residents, I was not taking enough time to enjoy them and one day, realized it sitting down by the water, beside the Pumphouse Marsh with a friend and her dog, which was one of the things I had spent time fighting gov’t to ensure our bodies of water here in Oshawa would be protected better.

    I will keep it short. More than one of us have told you and written you as I have viewed, that you being on the radio makes some of us feel like you are a little bit of family to us! That in itself has united or rallied some of us, as in what the word of the Lord calls us to do- unify and in that, we can come together.

    Thanks again for your heart and transparency and being family to us, not by blood relation but in other ways.

    Have a great 2015 Amy and all others out there.

  5. As always thank you for a wonderful insight and meaningful words. They mean so much especially in light of today’s crazed world. TY again. A happy year to you , Penny, and your family and friends .

  6. Max J. Havlick Says:

    An American Sonnet
    (to Amy Lawrence and her friends on “Play by Play”)

    As winter’s icy fingers claim my close attention,
    reminding me of losses in the fading year,
    the sun abruptly seems to stop and change direction
    to start anew its warming of the biosphere
    and slowly bring about the requisite transition
    to put new pregnant possibilities in motion.

    But now Copernicus arrives with his invention,
    explaining how the sun, dynamic, still stands still;
    that earth’s own daily turning wins the sun’s ascension,
    and subtle year-long wobblings of the earth fulfil
    its primal need for necessary new regeneration,
    recycling hot and cold each year in time for ripe creation.

    Inhabitants can hide themselves in frozen hibernation,
    or choose to fly the world on wings of fresh imagination.

    Wednesday morning, January 14, 2015
    Villa Park, Illinois 60181-1938

    Thank you, Amy, for the timely encouragement you seem abundantly able to offer.

  7. Hi Amy! I have been a fan for a long time; I would catch you here and there and always loved your radio shows. Just this morning, I turned on a Cleveland station and it happened to be CBS Sports Radio and there you were. And apparently it is a regular shift. How great.
    I came to the office committed to “looking you up” and came across your wonderful blog. Amy, you are truly a humble and genuine person. Your philosophizing about life just struck a chord with me.
    Thanks for baring your soul in this blog.

    Well, I’ve found you–on Twitter, on this blog. You are truly one person I’d like to “follow”.
    And might I add, you are a complete piece of work–and that is in the best sense!

  8. Amy,

    You’re a great broadcaster. You’re a true professional who knows her subjects and always has an opinionated and thought provoking show!

    You deserve a more prime time slot and it will come.

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