by Lisa Burwell
Dear Friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. —3 John 1:2
“If you have your health you have everything.” My grandmother, Nannie Ryan, used to say that almost every time I saw her, closing her remark with “thanks be to God.” I vividly recall her saying this and I thought it was nice, but I was an invincible teenager then and it wouldn’t be until later in life that I realized truer words were never spoken. No matter what you’re going through in life, if you can walk, see, breathe, eat, and lend someone else a helping hand, you have riches beyond gold because gold can’t help you when you are sick. We live in a health-conscious society, yet sickness still seems to affect so many. As more people have adopted healthy lifestyles that include eating organic foods, taking vitamins, exercising, and trying to maintain overall good health, others cannot do these things due to a myriad of reasons: poverty, poor nutrition habits, lack of education, or an overall malaise, to name a few. Good health is an absolute blessing and should never be taken for granted. I remind myself of this fact every time I am overwhelmed by the cares of this world—and there are many—and pause for a moment to reflect on how fortunate I am to be alive and in good health.
I speak from experience. When I was in my thirties and married a little over a year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, just like countless others have been—too many, in fact. Unfortunately, I had also witnessed some of my extended family members die from cancer, so when I heard the word, which back then was dreadfully referred to as “the big C,” I was devastated. A long faith-filled battle, praying to stay alive and be well, was fought over the course of a year. One of my fervent prayers was that I would not need chemotherapy or radiation, and this was answered. Thanks be to God! I have since talked to many women who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer and offered hope, compassion, and prayer, and every one of them is still alive today and actually thriving. I am not sure if I would walk in the same gratitude that I do today had I not encountered mortality at an early age. I hardly ever talk about this as it’s been over eighteen years, but something about publishing an issue dedicated to health and beauty prompted my candor about what I’d long considered a private matter from my past. Much of beauty is found in gratitude and a thankful heart, and that is what I wanted to share. Of course, like many, I am obsessed with all that modern skin care, cosmetics, and a healthy lifestyle have to offer, but I find that I feel most beautiful and happy when I am grateful.
One of our feature stories, “In a World of Questions, Love Is the Answer” by John Thorndike—author of The Last of His Mind—chronicles the last year he spent on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, caring for his father, who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s. It’s an excellent read and it struck me to the core; I could relate to much of what he recounted as my father passed away, also from Alzheimer’s, two years ago at this time of year. I asked John if he would contribute an article for our readers in our first Health & Beauty issue from the vantage point that maybe, when it’s within our power to do so, caring for a loved one at home may be the kindest act of love we can share.
To a healthy, prosperous new year and to Life!
—Lisa Marie Founder/Editor-in-ChiefCaliza Goes Pink 2012: Lisa Burwell's After-Dinner Speech