I’m not dying. Well, I’m dying in the same sense that everyone is dying, but it doesn’t appear that I’ll be leaving any more quickly than anyone else. Cancer treatment is going well, I’m told, and all we are doing now is “cleaning up any stragglers” that may remain undetected in my body. I have 10 more weeks of “cleanup” to go, and even though I still have several years of treatment to inhibit cancer growth, things should get back to normal.
I’m not dying, but I don’t feel like I’m living, either. My current reality is completely dictated by cancer and its treatment. Because of side effects and collateral damage, I am not able to just go about my business like I did last year at this time. I don’t have the energy to jump up and make an impromptu trip somewhere, just to get out. I am sick many days and don’t have the wherewithal to tidy the house, do dishes, or play a game with my kids. Steroids are messing with my system, so I am not free to enjoy certain meals or drink my morning coffee. “Life” right now is very different.
What is “life?” What is “living?” Do we measure life by what we are physically capable of doing? Is someone confined to a wheelchair less alive than someone running a marathon? I don’t think so. At least I hope that isn’t the measure we use.
To quantify life in that manner brings us dangerously close to making judgments of worth in a person based on what they can produce or how exciting their activities are. It relegates “living” to a series of accomplishments–a tally sheet of “doing.” It means that babies and old people are barely living. People restricted by physical or mental limitations can suddenly be ranked in order of importance based on production.
This type of thinking hits home for me. My dad is confined to a wheelchair. His muscles are weak. His activity is very limited and he needs help with most things. In spite of this, he is one of the strongest men I know. I have watched him manage adversity and disability for years, and he never ceases to amaze me.
Most any man can do physical labor, maintain the house, keep things in order. But it’s not every man that encourages. Dad has time to spare, and he uses that time to invest in people. He calls to check in. He listens. He gives advice. Most of all, he PRAYS.
I would love it if my dad could pop over and fix something for me. That would fill a need. But I love it so much more that my dad will call me or my husband to pray. That is life giving.
So while I am in this sedentary season, I want to make use of the time. I want to encourage. I want to come alongside people who are struggling. I want to be a testimony of the grace of God in my life. I want to pray.
That is living.