Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday Again

It's another Monday morning. I remember growing up and listening to a song on the morning radio, called I Don't Like Mondays - by the Boomtown Rats, I think. It was not an uplifting song for a Monday morning.

Not a song for today, a day that the Lord has made!

I like Mondays, and Tuesdays , and . . .

Jeff Hiller, a friend and local restaurant owner (Trackside Grill, in Honesdale), dropped by yesterday with our meal for this evening - a large pan of ziti and meatballs, salad and bread. Another great blessing that gives my wife a bit of relief from her work as a wife, mom, and hostess.

The de Haan family arrived last night from Tallahassee. Peter and Phyllis spent the night in Clarks Summit. Uncle Steve and his family are here with us. And the day is just beginning. We are anticipating a great week together - many good conversations, some good laughs, and - of course - a lot of pictures to be posted here!

I continue to be blessed with e-mails from members of my "family" from The Walker School. The love and encouragement that I am receiving is truly overwhelming.

The pain in my body continues to intensify, but no pain can quell the joy that is within me because of the love of Christ and the manifestation of that love in the words and actions of those that love and care about me. The pain can and will be managed, but I do not think that I will ever be able to "manage" the blessings that continue to come our way.

There are brief thoughts about death and dying this morning. With death, for one in Christ, there is the association with faith, peace, and hope. There is no fear. There are no regrets. I know that God is with me. I know death leads to rest, comfort, the presence of Christ, a crown of life, and a joyful resurrection. All good thoughts.

The hospice nurse visited this morning. We discussed ways to get the pain under better control. We also discussed the changes that have been occurring in my body function.

There are signs that my body is slowing down and giving in. My body is not cooperating with my mind. To me, this is becoming a source of frustration, mainly because I know that I am becoming more of a burden to my wife. She, of course, does not see it at as a burden. She will continue to care for me, in whatever way necessary, to the very end. No matter what. With humility. With patience. With pure lovingkindness.

Taking a break from the laptop and focusing on being there with family, I enjoyed with them a late lunch and a game of Scattergories. It is now late afternoon. The energy level in this household is waning. And we are each settling into comfortable spots around the home. There's a whole lot of napping going on! The children, however, keep running on their extra fuel reserves and keep us on our toes!

My brother Scott recently mailed to me a copy of The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. In the introduction, Pausch writes,

Engineering isn't about perfect solutions; it's about doing the best you can with limited resources.

This statement, in Pausch's mind, is really not about engineering, but about living life at the end. Even with limited resources, we do the best we can.

He refers to himself as an injured lion that still wants to roar. Can you feel his tension? Despite the fact that he is near the end, there is still much to do. There is still much to say.

I feel the same way. There is still so much to say to my family and friends. There is still so much to say about my Great God and Father in Heaven. There is still so much to thank Him for. There is still so much to praise Him for.

Pausch feels the tension between spending time with and preparing his family for his departure from this earth and leaving a legacy through his last lecture. [I think that he can do both. He has to do both. In the end, I think that he finds that he has accomplished both.] He writes,

I have a chance here to really think about what matters most to me, to cement how people will remember me, and to do whatever good I can on the way out.

He wants to know if he can still roar.

I know what matters most to me. Seeing Christ is first. Spending time with my immediate family is second. Third, is my extended family and friends. Each day - really each moment - is a matter of putting those priorities in place. As I focus each day, each moment, on seeing Jesus, the two other priorities do naturally fall into place.

Pausch mentions that his final lecture will be expected to be about dying, but that it had to be about living.

In reality, one cannot be separated from the other. In God's economy, dying is part of living.
As I face death, I am forced to think about life and put life into proper perspective. My death and release from this earth is the inevitable end to my life on this earth. But it is not the end in the ordinary sense of the word. I have lived in order that I might die away from the things of this earth and find new life in Jesus Christ.

Pausch comes to the conclusion that his cancer does not make him unique. I agree. Cancer may give us a different perspective, but it does not make us unique. It does not define who we are. It does allow us to join the ranks of those who suffer uncertainty and difficulty, but we are all in that same category. We all suffer. It is part of living. We, like Pausch, must ask ourselves what we have to offer to others in these circumstances. We have to find our purpose.

What I have to offer - to my family, to my friends, to those that God brings into my life during this time - is hope. The hope that is found only in Jesus Christ. I can help others to see Jesus. This must be my purpose in the moments and days that remain.


Kelly said...

I love the "Last Lecture" and the Pausch story...I am amazed at how some people choose to live life with very; almost impossible odds. Randy has been on my mind; as I read your blogs. How can we all live life to the fullest and shed anger, saddness, depression, regret, etc? Without the life or death situation.
Things are much easier said then done; this world would be a much better place if we all lived like it was our last. But I couldn't imagine being strong enough to accept and live like you are doing. May God be with you and your family and may the pain be less!!

Jackson Smith Covenant Marriage Seminars said...

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