“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

On July 20th, 2016, I learn I have a tumor. This only happens to others, but now it’s happening to me. My husband, Douglas, envelops me. I sink into a ball, and my tears soak through his shirt.

Douglas and I were packing our apartment and starting to plan our going-away party. Harvard Law School sent his class schedule for the fall, and I eyed Round 1 for my HBS application.

By mid-August, Douglas had started a job search instead, and we called his parents’ basement our home. I was on disability, and five new surgical scars testified to my aching body and soul.

Day-by-day, as we navigated all that came with a cancer diagnosis, something else happened. Time froze.

I savored the saltiness of my mom’s chicken and wild rice soup. I squealed with my little niece during our games of tickle-thief. My lungs slowly expanded with air, and then did it again, and I paused to say thank you for each breath. My plans collapsed, but, strangely, I felt free.

I will find joy in the present and trust that whatever comes tomorrow, I am in God’s loving hands.

— Shelby Colby