Having a life-threatening illness can provide insight into one of the most fascinating things about the human spirit. If you’ve read any of my stuff, you know I have Multiple Myeloma. This piece isn’t going to be about me and my experiences with this insidious disease. It’s going to be about the observations I’ve had, and continue to have, about folks who have this disease.
Oh, let my go back to that most “fascinating thing” I just mentioned. The battle against death is that most fascinating thing. I am a member of several social media sites that share information and provide support to folks who have Multiple Myeloma. What I’ve discovered about many of the people who have membership in these sanctuaries of cyber space is their all-out fight against death. I can hear you saying now: What do you expect them to do? Who wants to die, especially from cancer or some other horrible disease? I can appreciate that sentiment. Before you indict me as being insensitive, please be mindful of the fact that I’m a warrior in this battle, too.
From the second we’re born, we embark on a journey. This journey takes all of us to one inevitable location. That location is when our corporal selves transition to something else. In my case, I believe we take up residence in Heaven or the alternative, hell. I’m not going to discuss the comparative theology of what happens to us once we die. I’m simply sharing what I believe. You may believe otherwise. If we’re all going to die anyway, isn’t it fascinating how much energy, time, effort, finances and other untold amounts of resources are expended on staying alive? I do believe staying alive is a good thing but read on.
I often read very sad stories of how Myeloma patients are suffering from symptoms brought on by this disease. The fear-laden signs of the battle against death are often laid out without the slightest cloak. This locomotive force drives them to seek the latest treatment, the newest clinical trial that might usher forward the gift of life toward a few more months or years. Recently, I read a question on a social media site that posed the question: What do you do when you go into relapse? Some responses seemed almost hopeless, not giving much thought to the fact that they were yet alive. Acknowledging the life yet present, compared to the threat of death from Myeloma, took a back seat. Shouldn’t life be celebrated, no matter that all the pistons in the engine that animates it aren’t hitting as well as they should? Isn’t life yet existing, a state of being deserving of some degree of homage to the One who gave it? Why worry about the inevitable that will come eventually to us all?
The fight against death can sometimes prevent us from finding joy in living the life we’re given. In case you’re giving thought to “quality” (or poor quality) of life; that state of existence that makes it hard to find joy when pain and discomfort are in abundance, I believe one’s faith stance can play an important role here. I, again this is just me, have faith in a creator who gives life, loves life, loves me. He wants the best for me even when my temple is infested with auto immune activity that cares not for my continued existence in the least bit. It’s my belief that when the black-robed, sickle-carrying angel of death does come to extract me from this plain, my creator, my God will welcome me to a plain where death will have no power.
We’re all advancing toward the inevitable, but shouldn’t we try our best to enjoy (as best we can) the bird in hand that we’ve been blessed to have?
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.