I will live today in the moment.
I will live today as if it were my last day here on this earth and I will dream and plan today for tomorrow because “Today is the first day of the rest of my life; I will rejoice and be glad in it” (cf. Psalm 118:24-KJV)
Yesterday I started this series on “beginnings and endings”. I am not completely sure where this is going – however it is an entry point into sharing some aspects of my journey with God following my “theme song” as shown above.Yesterday, I listed some of the events that have led me to “a renewed and clearer understanding of the temporary and fleeting nature of our life here on this earth.”
As these thing occurred over the past 2 years, there was always a sense of loss and a deep sorrow - a desire to be a source of strength and comfort to others who were more directly affected than I and (except perhaps in the case of my Dad) a clear recognition that any loss I might feel was very small in relation to that felt by those (wives, children, parents, …) more directly affected.More significantly (at least to me) was a persistent reaction – that I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit– of gratitude that it hadn’t happened to me or a member of my immediate family and an (especially in the sudden deaths of those close to me in age) an arrogant “thumping of my chest” and saying “Well this wouldn’t happen to me because I’m in perfect health”. (This was often ‘disguised’ as a prayer of thankfulness – but nonetheless in my heart there was pride and arrogance). I might have done well to remember the proverb.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
In December 2012, I had a persistent severe cough for several weeks and, finally at my wife’s urging just before Christmas, I went to emergency to see about it. Well the cough was no problem but while there I mentioned that I’d had a few minor incidents of very mild chest pain after walking briskly. No need to bother you with the details but the outcome of was that I was scheduled for a stress test on January 4 at 8:00 a.m.
I was so confident that there wasn’t anything wrong that I drove myself in so Linda wouldn’t have to roust herself out that early in the morning. Well an hour later I had “failed” the stress test and was being scheduled for an immediate angiogram. And Linda was left scrambling to find a ride to the hospital so she could be there for the procedure.
By 1 p.m. it was “good news and bad news” – good news arteries are completely clear, bad news - doctor thinks I have aortic valve stenosis” ( a “sticky valve – more like something I’d expect in my car than myself J).
So I was scheduled for an echocardiogram to verify this – and Tuesday (22nd) after that test the Doc comes in and says “The valve is very tight and I think it needs to be replaced” – didn’t seem to be any “wiggle room” – he was pretty clear “It needs to be replaced – it’s only going to get worse and your risk of sudden cardiac failure is 10 times higher than someone who has a healthy heart” so he has referred me to a cardiac surgeon in Sudbury (about 200 miles (300 km) away) and we are waiting for the call.
An end to the illusion that I was in perfect health and that would go on for “ever”
Another ending and a beginning of living with a new reality.
When your own mortality hits you in the face it really stops you in your track. For me, the way I process these things is to talk about them (which can be a bit tedious for wife, friends and acquaintances) and to write about them which I’ve doing in my journal.
I had also late last year been thinking of resuming my blog and then early this week I saw a note from a ”blogging buddy” that said she had published a blog for the first time in quite a while. This inspired me to start (so your have Dee Andrews (see Finding Direction: The Wind Vane Chronicles) to thank or curse depending on whether you think this is worthwhile reading) for having me “jump back into the pool”. Thanks Dee you have inspired me many times and I am sorry to hear of your current health problems)
So where am I going with this? Still not 100% sure but I need to wait until tomorrow because there are “today” things I have to get to.
I’ll close some verses from Job that seems appropriate (not that I think what’s happened to me and around me compares at all to what happened to Job but it does deal with how we respond to “bad things”).
The first one was brought back onto my radar screen on Sunday when my Linda and I were watching a video that her Ladies’ class was using.
21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” 22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. Job 21-22, (ESV)
The second one has been for a long time a core part of my “theology” of suffering and accepting whatever outcomes occur when we’ve prayed fervently for healing or some other good thing.
Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:10b-11 (ESV)
I’ll pick up from here tomorrow in Part 3