Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Then I remembered what she told me just a few weeks ago, when I recounted my daughter Maggie praying for our puppy Bunny to be well and her request coming true. "I've often found that prayer works."

So last week, I prayed, not only for myself but for my children and my husband.

What did I learn during my week of prayer and contemplation? That I worry too much about things that don't matter; that I get frustrated too often about the little annoyances of life: delays, misunderstandings and miscommunications. That I take for granted the joy of simply being alive, not accomplishing anything or doing anything, but just being.

When I received a call from my doctor at 6:30 p.m. Friday, I ran across the room to grab it before it went to voice mail. The biopsy was negative.

Relief and thankfulness swept through me. Relief that I did not have to tell my husband or our children that I had cancer, relief that I could spare them from the kind of haze over their heads that followed me through fifth grade.

My prayer now is that I remember the lessons learned from last week: that life is precious; that there is much to be thankful for; that very few things are worth getting stressed about. To remember that much of what is needed for my day-to-day life to be better is simply a change in perspective, from that of frustration for what I have not yet accomplished to that of being thankful for simply being alive with the people I love.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.