Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dad and numbering our days

Over the past few days, we've learned that Dad is battling an aggressive cancer that has moved pretty far along. We still don't know all of the details. The best guess seems to be melanoma recurring inside his body and metastasizing. They started radiation on his brain today (1st of 10 days). After that, it looks like immuno-therapy for the many tumors in his body.
The odd thing is that his only noticeable symptom was little bits of numbness over the past six weeks and slurred speech a week ago. The good news: no pain. The bad news: the numbness got them looking for the wrong things-- and with no pain, it got a lot further down the road.
We're praying for medicine and what looks like it'd be a miracle. Pray also for my mom and my sister (who are local and thus much more involved)-- that they would have strength for the day. Dad is a tough bird and otherwise has been in really good health. Pray for his continued good spirits and that we may sense the Lord's presence in a special way the next few weeks. Thanks in advance for your prayers.

A few reflections: 
1.) In day-to-day life, I perceive that I err on the Arminian side of things-- trying to take control of things, emphasizing my (hopefully, Spirit-led) free will, etc. In the larger moments of life, I perceive that I err on the Calvinistic side of things-- God's in control; I have little control...all good and well, except that it can move into passivity and fatalism. 

2.) The Lord reminds us through the Psalmist of the wisdom of "numbering our days". We don't know whether Dad has 30 or 3,000 left? Heck, none of us knows if we have 30 or 3,000. Martin Luther is said to have said that if today were his last day, he'd plant a tree. The point? Live every day like you have 3000 left and live every day as if it's your last. Make every day count. 

3.) In one of my small laments about what if Dad dies and we had little warning-- and why God would do that-- it struck me that God gets blamed however we exit. 
a.) If someone is killed suddenly, we're prone to complain that we didn't "get a chance to say goodbye." 
b.) If someone has a long, slow, painful death, we're prone to complain about the pain. 
c.) If Dad dies in 30 days after little pain, how on earth could I complain about that-- at least, next to the alternatives. 
d.) My two grandmothers died at about 90 years old and we had no complaints. Who does, in such circumstances? But we can't all live until 90 and then exit. This would create a number of perverse disincentives. So, what's left? The "system" we have today, within fallen Creation. The punchline: Again, number your days aright. 


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