Nothing puts on the brakes faster than learning someone near and dear has been diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Such was the case yesterday when we learned a family member has not only one, but two such diseases…multiple myeloma and amyloidosis.
Taking quickly to Google we learned that both illnesses require a battalion of white blood cells to bring down MM and AL. Both are rare, involving an over production of amyloid protein cells. MM is treatable; AL, manageable.
Sitting in church today, having returned to regular Mass only a few weeks ago, I was reminded of the peace I find relinquishing a few moments of a normally busy life to God. My mind may wander from time to time but my body is grounded in the community of people with whom I share a spiritual commonality.
Regardless of what we believe individually, there is no denying that man is not the be all and end all. There is a greater force than us.
Throughout our lives we may strive to conquer the world, but inevitably we are the ones conquered. Our bodies, and sometimes our minds, abandon us to the elements. In Genesis 3:19 it is written in part:
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Whether or not we believe in God, there’s no denying the fact that when we die our bodies indeed return to dust.
Living is struggling against the inevitable. We are consumed with the desire not only to survive but to thrive in the process. None of us with the will to live would lay down and die without a fight.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize it’s quality of life that matters. A long life seems hardly worth living if we’re not able to do much of what keeps us invested in being here.
In my opinion that quality includes living stress free as much as we are able. Of course there’s much over which we have little or no control. However there is also much we can control…over-worrying…living in denial…refusing the compassion and support of others, preferring to go it alone.
Perhaps that over which we have greatest control is to always…live our best lives.
The threat of dying can eat away at what time we have left. Perhaps if we could learn to embrace life in the time remaining, we might look upon death as only a moment in time, albeit the final one.
I don’t profess to know more than anyone else. It’s only when I take the time to reflect in the relative calm of Sunday Mass does life reveal itself more clearly.
A man and a woman, heretofore strangers, bonded to give me life. It is not inconceivable then that the life given to me can end just as naturally as it began.
Life is not a given, it is a gift. I pray we can all remember that when life nears the end of its cycle.
And would that I could be there to embrace you in a
…huge and loving hug.
(Enjoy other Nurturing Thursday entries at