Last week I thanked The Good Lord for allowing me to see the long-awaited removal of a derelict barge from our riverfront. I also half-jokingly wondered whether or not I would live to see the completion of a rather slowly progressing build in the Southside. That line of thought got me wondering just what else I might live to see. Let the record show that I will be royally pissed if I do not get to see the this, this, and another one of these... (what can I say, I’m greedy)
To reset the table, I’m currently two months into my supposed “year to live”, I have a tumor in my abdomen that’s bigger than a golf ball, and I’m on my second cycle of chemotherapy. We don’t know if the chemo is working or not, but I’m handling it like a champ (knock on wood). I’ve been up in the gym just working on my fitness, I hit the links a few times, and I’ve been dominating nine-year-olds on the basketball court. I get a bit drowsy from time to time, but I don’t let it slow me down. I’m back at work and my days are filled with various and sundry meetings and professional tasks.
Life, for the moment, is weird. Our family has resumed the typical routine- boys are in school, D and I are working, and we spend the rest of our lives at a soccer practice or tournament. While life has been turned on its head, everything is “normal”. If I could hit the pause button and live the rest of my life as things are right now, I gladly would. Unfortunately, the pause button is not an option. To be fair, that’s not an option for you either. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Tumor or no tumor, there is only the opportunity to fill our days with love and life.
I’ve never been particular bothered with leaving a legacy or a lasting monument to my time on this earth. Faced with my own mortality, however, I am driven by one question for the future. It is a question of legacy, and it is this: What kind of world am I going to leave for Keith Richards?
Friends and Strangers
Apologies to my fellow Phi Lou Gehrig, but I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. The amount of love I’ve received over the past few weeks is beyond description. This, however, is less a testament to my lovability than it is my great fortune in befriending people with big hearts. I cannot begin to thank everyone who has sent prayers and positive vibes. I want ya’ll to know that I appreciate every text, email, call, smoke signal, telegram, and instant message and consider your friendship a gift.
I don’t have a large family of blood relations. Those of us who are still around are spread about and don’t see too much of each other. Accordingly, I was most excited to get a letter from my second cousin this week. It was very sweet, and I am grateful for her thoughts and prayers. She told me that she and her friends are praying for me “by name” (it’s a southern thing). She also shared my situation with a friend, which has resulted in me being a prayer focus of a bible study group at Rocky Bluff Baptist Church in Polkville, Mississippi. While the family has deep roots in rural Mississippi (I wrote a post about it a while back), I can't say I know anyone in Polkville. There are a number of prayer groups in a number of communities praying for me, and maybe it’s not fair to single one out. That said, the idea of a group of folks in Smith County, Mississippi praying for a stranger in Chattanooga just makes me smile.
While we’re on the topic of prayer
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I don’t believe in praying for outcomes. If you believe in God, you believe in something bigger than yourself. It follows that God has a better idea of the big picture than you do. I think it’s small to pray for your team to win, or to hit the lottery, or for that matter to be healed*. Those events fit into your vision for a plan, not necessarily God’s. I am of the opinion that the prayer should be for the strength and character to respond to any situation in a way that reflects positively on our faith. If you are wont to pray, I humbly request that you focus less on my health and more on strength for all of the people that are impacted by the situation (with special attention on my boys). And while you're at it, spare a few words for our friend Keith Richards.
*Disclaimer: I cannot vouch for the scriptural accuracy of my position.
This week's chemo listen: I wore out Alt-J, gave a nod to Mr. Richards, and revisited Nirvana.