We are but a breath.
… to unending.
Just a breath.
Andrew Kippley is 15 and has cancer. He’s been told there’s no more treatment options left. He could look at life one of two ways: One breath closer to dying. Or having another breath in which to live.
Andrew chooses the latter.
Andrew was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma — a form of infant and youth cancer — when he was a toddler. After 10 cancer-free years, the ninth grader from Minnesota found out last month that the cancer had returned. (Andrew is the nephew of family friends.)
No treatment options are left. Drugs could slow the progression, but Andrew didn’t want to spend his days sick. He wants to live.
He’s the sort of kid who has this quote on his Caring Bridge page: “When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life you have a thousand reasons to smile.”
At the beginning of his chemo treatments, he walked down the hall singing, “Ain’t no mountain high enough” with his IV pole in hand.
He now has a day planner to keep track of the things he wants to do, people he wants to see.
And he wants people to know that if this earthly life is “but a breath,” we ought to start living like it. He wants us to see the world “through the eyes of a dying man.”
Andrew wrote a poem after his recent diagnosis. He has graciously given me permission to reprint it here.
I want to live and breathe like Andrew. These are his words:
Through dying eyes, it’s a new world I see.
The colors are so much brighter.
The little things grow bigger day by day
And burdens grow even lighter.
As times grow shorter, you’d think I’d grow sadder
But it makes me cherish everything more.
And with each passing day, it’s easier to say
Live this one like never before.
And as sadness looms, I grow in faith.
As I trust in God for safety
this situation is out of my hands.
And I know that he will guide me
At a passing glance, there’s nothing to me.
but there’s more than meets the eye.
I see the world in a much different view
Than the average person passing by
And I wish everyone could see the world
through the eye of a dying man
because maybe, just maybe
people would live and see the world like I can.
Photo credit goes to Tyler Farstead, a 16-year-old member of my church, who had the eyes to see God’s beauty in this mountaintop view during a church trip.