Willie Spears

Glass Half Full

July 10, 2019

In 2008, I took a job working in full time spots ministry with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). In October of that year, I flew to Kansas City, Missouri for a week-long training. While I was there I met another former coach who had a great perspective on life named Mark Tidwell.

Mark and I have similar personalities, and we love God and sports. We made fun of all the different people at the training and clowned on each other quite a bit. When I left Missouri I wondered if I would ever see any of those people again.

Four years later I saw Mark and his beautiful wife, Lee, at a summer camp. Mark and I picked up where we left off and commenced to telling jokes as if we were on stage. Once we realized we had an audience we both went overboard trying to make everyone in the room laugh. You would have thought Kings of Comedy and the Blue-Collar Comedy Tour had merged as one.

The last night of the camp Mark was scheduled to speak.

Mark started by telling jokes and making fun of those in the room. Then he shared his testimony:

I’ll never forget the words I heard on March 16, 2009. I was in a doctor’s office, and he entered the room and said, “Mr. Tidwell, we found the problem and that problem is colon cancer and we need to take care of it as soon as possible.“ At that moment, my life as I knew it changed.

Four days later, I entered the hospital and had the cancer removed. The doctors were very positive and thought they got everything, and we thought we would move on and this would be a speed bump. Three moths later when I came back for scans, the news wasn’t so good.

Our oncologist entered the room this time. We could tell by the look on her face and her body language that the news was not as positive as we would have hoped for. She says, “Mark, I hate to tell you this but the cancer has metastasized and now you’ve developed stage four liver cancer.”

A few weeks later, I entered the hospital once again and had tumors from my liver removed, and we continued to progress from that point till recovery. Unfortunately, I had complications a few months later and had to go back again and have some more surgery done. In March 2010, we got the next news that the cancer had come back to the liver, so we started seeking additional input and consultation. We flew to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and they confirmed the cancer was there in the liver.

The room was dead silent. The entire week, he had been the most energetic person there, with a smile on his face and an attitude of gratitude. If he would not have shared the fact that he was dying, we would have never known. He decided to live a life with a glass-half full mentality.

Mark passed away in March of 2014 leaving a legacy through a book and his testimony titled, “Leave a Mark.” He left a positive Mark. He played a song by Tim McGraw called Live Like You Were Dying. He asked us to live like we were dying.

How about you? Is the glass half full or glass empty?

What will be your legacy? Will you leave a mark? I encourage you to live like you were dying.

Willie Spears is a teacher, coach, author, minister and motivational speaker. He has been awarded teacher and coach of the year. He speaks to thousands each year through his business The Willie Spears Experience. Willie may be reached at www.williespears.com.

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