Quality before quantity.

(Due to limited internet access this us posted a day late.)

Tonight we are in Alliance, Nebraska. We have spent the last several days traveling on US-20, right next to The Cowboy Trail. I’ve always heard that Nebraska isn’t that exciting and pretty empty, but I have come to love it. So far it is my favorite state. We’ve ridden through flat grassy fields with extreme headwinds, cruised through the beautiful Sandhills region, and seen the Buttes (we called them the butts of course). I love the stretches of grassy fields and slight rolling hills which are similar but unlike the stretches of crops at home.

But, this post isn’t about the ride this time, though there is always more to tell about that. This post is about the reason we do this – to collect and share the stories from any who have an experience with cancer.

We just did a portrait with three people who had come to have dinner with us at the church. One of the women said that she will never really be in remission. She must always be on the watch and go through chemotherapy when needed and remaining time is really unknown. Her personality, strength, and love for family reminded me of my grandma who also had breast cancer.

What really touched me were a few things her husband said. One was that you should still make plans. How can you plan a vacation a year on advance when you’ve got this cancer situation going on? You still plan it, he said. And if the plans need to change, you change them, and it’s not a big deal. You keep going on. You keep living. He said that all you need to remember is faith, hope, and love.

One of the last things he mentioned was that quality is much more important than quantity, and that really stuck with me. Along the same lines, his wife said that she realized what was really important in life after she was diagnosed, and that everything else could be thrown away.

No matter the time we have left with one another, we can make it great. If we focus on the quality of life rather than how much money we have or how much time we have or how many belongings we have, we will find so much more reward. So many people say that they want to make the most of every single day and live life to the fullest, but I think few really succeed. I am thankful for this ride and these portraits which have made me realize even more how precious our time is and how we can be positive and cherish the right things. So many of the things we hold dear are so disposable and so trivial. We waste so much time on social media and we spend hours shopping for things we don’t need and we are often selfish. We need to look up from our phones and computers. We need to foster relationships and take care of them. We need to put our hearts and our actions into things that we care about and things that can make a difference.

The portrait tonight reminded me of why we are here – why we tire ourselves out and push against headwinds and climb mountains and pedal on even when random body parts start to seriously hurt (again, the butts….).

We think of each day as a number. That number gets closer and closer to our total of 71 each day, and the number of miles we’ve ridden keeps racking up. But it’s not these quantities that matter at all. Each day is another journey and another chance for us to grow personally and touch the lives of others, even if it’s just one person per day. I’d say the quality of our days is pretty top notch. I like to think we are doing a good job of improving the quality of life for others too. It might seem like we are doing something outrageous, but we are just a few kids on some bikes striving to make a change. You might be surprised that you can easily do the same.

Comments (5)
  • Walder's Mom says:

    Thank you, Alex, for your whole post and especially for the part about continuing to make plans in the face of uncertainty.

  • Graces Aunt says:

    Wow. Great perspective and comments for all of us to ponder. Thanks!

  • dan thuente says:

    Beautiful recap of some special people. You are right that we are so busy, we often lose track of what really is important. We are all here for a limited time, some just get a little longer than others, but that doesn’t change that we need to appreciate every day.
    Also, don’t for a second think you are “striving to make a change”. You are making a change. In yourselves, the people you reach out to, & anybody following along through the journal & all your personal posts. Thank you!!!!!

  • aknicker Alex Knicker says:

    Thank you both for your comments! I am happy our journey and our thoughts are reaching so many people.

  • John Knicker says:

    Great post, ALex. Thank you.

Leave a Reply