In the old ďStar TrekĒ episodes, whenever Captain Kirk and his fellow trekkers would visit some strange place with even stranger things on it, and they werenít quite sure what to call these abstract aliens, Kirk would always ask Dr. McCoy to identify what they were seeing and the response was usually Ė ďItís life Jim, but not as we know it.Ē
But whatís really funny is that no matter how ďnormalĒ your life seems to be, we all have to deal with issues from time to time and itís how we handle these points of contention in our lives that mold us in the shape of the people we are. For example: on the surface of my life, some might see me as a decent man, friendly, slightly over weight, (definite sign of a well eaten life) and in fairly good health. Nevertheless, those who know me a little better than a passing acquaintance, might say that I have a healthy self esteem and that Iím probably living a well contented and joyful life. And they will be right.
However, looks can be deceiving. For if some will have what Iím about to reveal about my own personal issues, health wise in this case, they just might start to feel a little cheated perhaps even angry at God for dealing them such a rotten hand that they might want to toss their cards in before the last call comes. They might consider that the grave is better than life itself. Honestly, I donít consider those thoughts because I believe that I am living an example of grace under fire.
Iíll start with the small stuff first. I have a real nasty ingrown toenail presently, am overweight, have had a melanoma remove from my elbow, have experience pneumonia twice in the last four years (I get real nervous when a cold comes into my house) and am suffering from deafness in my left ear with diminished hearing loss in my right. I have Ketoacidosis, but am not diabetic. Iíve been diagnosis with GERDS (this is fun, have to watch some spicy food or stay in the bathroom with your head in a place that was never meant for your face to be in.)
Itís really hard to say what I dread about the next conundrums that have shaped my life so far. Because both have had such an impact on my life and yet, I tend to hide them from view. In one aspect I realize that itís a matter of pride, but itís also due to the fact that they been in my life for so long now that I really donít want to bring any attention to me. In other words, and itíll become clearer as I go along, that I donít want to be remember for what is ďwrongĒ with me but who I am. So having all said that, here it goes.
I have had kidney problems all my life and currently I am at stage four kidney failure with chronic kidney disease (this probably will be the thing that does me in, but thereís always hope.) But wait, it gets better. Iíve been diagnosis with Crohnís Disease, (which is really weird since a person with Crohnís tends to be under weight not overweight.) For those who donít know what Crohnís Disease is, itís a disease of the intestinal tract that causes inflammation and swelling of the digestive tract and is usually symptomatic with: abdominal cramping, diarrhea, incontinence, constipation and weight lost. Iíve had this disorder since I was seventeen, but I have had symptoms as early as fourteen. And I donít mean to be crude, but itís been a life time or at least it seems, since I have had a decent bowel movement.
I have had an appendectomy after surviving a rapture appendix for three weeks and have had bowel resection between the small and large intestine, all due to Crohnís. And because of the lost bowel, I have to give myself monthly vitamin B12 injections. (For someone who was squeamish about needles as a young man, I have quickly overcome that fear.)
In the last eight years alone, I have spent many a day and a week in the hospital due to either flares with my Crohnís or from my kidneys purging everything in my blood to try and regulate all the chemicals needed for survival, which is usually due to a flare up with my Crohnís. It has also been due to the fact that sometimes, on my own stupidity I admit, that I wasnít taking my medicine to help regulate the acid in my blood that put me in the hospital. But having change that particular medicine to one that is more palatable, I hope not to go back in to the hospital any time soon.
Now some might be thinking that due to all this trouble in my life, that there might be some sin that Iím either hiding from God or Iím not walking a righteous life. And nothing could be farther from the truth. Itís not that He canít punish people with sickness; just look at what He did to Nebuchadnezzar when old Nebby thought that he was lord of all, itís just that God knows my heart and all the sins I have committed and will commit, before Iím even tempted. What counts is that I am forgiven but I live in a fallen world brought about through sin. And itís not how Iím walking or even living a righteous life that count for me or against me, but whoís grace I rely on for my daily allotment of life.
With all the ailments I have and will continue to receive throughout the rest of my days, I gain strength from the scripture -
"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9
I realize that there are others that are worse off than me and itís them that I look to for inspiration, in hope I could be an inspiration to others. Thereís something about a person, I have always felt, that looks at life a little differently who have come back from or may in fact be living on the edge of the great abyss that separates us from dirt roads here on earth to streets pave with gold in Heaven.
ďItís life, but not as we know itĒ is really a statement of amazement. How can someone that is that full of affliction still operate? The best way I know how; living on the strength of my Father.
Couldn't we all say that there are others worse off than us? Wow, all God asks is that we use our trials to praise Him and to minister to others. That is what you are doing, and it is a blessing. Incredible piece!
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Thank you for sharing. As a former hospice counselor, your article brought back many other memories of God's goodness despite our physical ailments. If it is true that our faith makes us whole, then you are whole indeed.