December 23, 2006

Me, I think I’m pretty much like everyone else in this workaday world, with a daily schedule I can pretty much sleepwalk through if I had to. The alarm goes off at 6:30 AM, then it’s up and off through my daily regimen – feed the rabbits a good morning treat, do the whole bathroom routine, get the coffee on, feed the buns their breakfast, pour my coffee, and walk down the hall into the spare bedroom that now serves as my business office.

At work, it’s just checking life out in my workplace universe, sending and answering a gazillion e-mails, attending conference calls, composing documents, and basically trying not to screw things up too royally for my boss. By the time 6 PM comes around, there’s rabbits to feed, supper to prepare, household chores, some Internet surfing, a little light reading and/or a little TV, the blogging thing, and then it’s off to bed to start the whole cycle back up again the next day.

…Not a whole lot different than most people, I’m sure.

And it’s hard not to get caught up in all the daily crap there is out there. Whether its stuff you supposedly (or hope you have) control of – work, relationships, etc. – or stuff you know you have no control over, like the people driving like maniacs all around you, those making business decisions above you, the political quacks in Washington, or the neighbors who leave their dogs out to bark at the slightest sound made within 2 1/2 miles of their property. There’s nothing wrong with it – that’s just the way life is, and it’s hard not to take it all for granted, operating as if it will always be that way, even if somewhere deep down in your subconscious you know there’ll come a time when it won’t. But why dwell on such things?

…But every now and then you hear of someone or some event that cuts just a little too close for comfort; something that makes you realize just how fragile the little worlds and walls we create around outselves, when the bitter reality that any and all of this can be whisked away in a simple turn of events or adverse set of circumstances that happens before our very eyes. Here’s my illustration – I’m sure everyone out there can probably think of something similar.

One of my wife’s co-workers and her husband decided to treat themselves for their anniversary by doing a spa treatment together at one of the swanky Scottsdale resorts. While getting a message, the therapist says to the husband that his hips seem to be out of line, and recommends he sees a chiropractor to put them back into alignment. The husband makes an appointment with the chiropracter, who gives him an examination and tells him that his hips are aligned fine, but there’s something that doesn’t feel right near his hip bone and recommends he sees a doctor.

He goes to the doctor and after a some tests and samples, it is discovered he has an aggressive form of osteosarcoma, or bone cancer. If you read about it, you discover it’s not a very nice thing to have, and in many cases the prognosis is, well, it ain’t good. Oh, and I forgot to add, he’s only 34.

For this couple, what had once been a life filled with the kind of harmless, usual routines I mentioned above has now, in just the span of a few weeks, been turned into a whirlwind of doctors appointments, calls to HR benefits coordinators and insurance companies, and coordinating family visits from afar to help bring needed energy and support to their lives. The husband’s still undergoing a battery of tests to determine not only the course of treatment, but, in reality, just how long he might expect to live. Sober stuff, indeed.

It just goes to show how fragile our lives really are, and how the control we feel we have over both them and the circumstances around them are nothing more than an illusion.

One of my favorite books of the New Testament has always been the Letter of James. One of the many pieces of advice he gives therein is as pertinent to us today as it was to the Church he was writing to nearly two thousand years ago:

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and get gain”; whereas you do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)

During this special time of the year when so many of us are gathered with families and friends, let us not forget how fortunate we are to have this time to spend together. I’m sure there are many out there for whom this is a most difficult time, and we need to keep them – and each other – in our thoughts and prayers.

God bless us, everyone.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 01:36 | Comments Off on Life is Fragile
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