I was thinking last night about “inescapable realities.” There are, I suppose, many such things that would fit that description—and some of them depend on the individual. But it was impressed on me that I’ve been living with two such realities for nearly a year now.
1. The reality of God and my Savior Jesus Christ. That is certainly not a new reality for me, but it is not just a theory or convenience either. I’ve never doubted it, though I will admit that a few times over the years I’ve conceded to Pascal’s wager in that regard.
2. The reality of death. That’s certainly not new either since the human mortality rate is 100%! So I’ve been “terminal” for over 60 years. But this past year has made that fact more vivid since the cancer (stage 4, incurable) I’ve been dealing with (for the second time now) will almost surely take my life at some point (unless “reality #1″ should chose to do something unexpected or unless I get run over by the proverbial truck first). I don’t anticipate that happening soon and I am planning to teach a full load this year. But the probability of reaching “three score years and ten” has dropped over this past year, though perhaps I will surprise some folks (and myself!).
Some friends have gently reminded me this past month that I’ve not said much of late as to how I’m doing. I’m not one to talk about it a lot, but for those who know me well enough to care, I will say that despite the treatments that I began late last Feb. working exceptionally well for some time, as of mid-summer they ceased being effective and the cancer has been spreading quite aggressively once again. I began a new treatment regimen about 3 weeks ago, though it’s too early to tell what effect that is going to have. So long as I stay at my desk, I’m still productive, but I’ve had to admit defeat on many things physical. I managed to change the oil in my car yesterday, but it took me several hours—but I did it! I can handle “tractor work” (like raking or baling hay for my son) since that’s “sit down” work, but such things as stacking hay on a wagon or in the mow, swinging a weedeater, or cutting wood are, at this point, “past history.” I’d like to think that I could still run the wood splitter if I didn’t have to wrestle 3′ diameter logs, but I haven’t had a chance to test that one yet. If I had a stool at the splitter and someone to feed me the material… maybe.
I finished two major books this year—that was my goal as of last Dec. when I discovered that the cancer was back aggressively. If I can get them “shepherded” through the proofing process over the next 6 mths or so, I’ll be glad. Whether I dare commit to another project of that size in the future, I don’t know yet.
“I … hope that I will … have sufficient courage so that … Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” (Phil 1:20).