Do I have to deal with this now?
It’s Saturday, 18 May, 2019. I’m sitting here in my living room, on an amazing Saturday morning, doing laundry and preparing to fly to Oklahoma early tomorrow morning for a visit with my daughter Melanie and my son-in-law John. I’m so happy to be going to see them! This trip was arranged long before I received the news of the SMM, and it has nothing to do with that. I just love my kids and I want to see them. But, it comes at a good time. I need to be with them.
When your doctor uses the C word and you are undergoing a series of tests to find out what’s going on, you can’t help but start considering the what-ifs — What if it becomes myeloma soon? What if it already is? What if I die in a year, or two, or five? What if I’m not allowed to eat any more pasta or tacos? These are awful possibilities and they cause me to ask, what should I be doing now? What should I be thinking about? Death? My legacy? Lunch? Do I even have to deal with all of this now? I’m not really ready for it. Well, except lunch.
I’m not ready to delve into questions like where everything came from, why we’re here, why in Renaissance paintings Jesus always has blue eyes and blond hair. There is plenty of time for that later. I hope.
Yes, I do own a Bible
As many of you who read my Facebook rantings already know, not long ago I came home from work to find a Bible in a gift bag, hanging on my front door. A very expensive Bible. Leather-bound. Some anonymous religious neighbor clearly wanted me to read and cherish it. This was insulting to me on several levels, and I’m not going to get into all of that here. But what I want to say is that, yes, I do own a Bible. I didn’t need anyone to gift me one. In fact, the Bible I own was given to me in 1991 by a man with whom I worked at the time (how about that grammar!). The man, someone I respected deeply and who, in spite of his own religious beliefs, always showed me respect and kindness, died a long and miserable death a few years ago of, yup, cancer. There seems to be a theme here.
So not only do I own a Bible, but I have in fact read it, cover to cover. That’s right. Mine is not an unexamined life. I’m not a religious man. Nor am I a spiritual man. It’s just not my character. And I don’t apologize for that. But in my own defense, I explored it. I was open to it. I just couldn’t embrace it.
I want to tread lightly here so as not to appear to be attacking or belittling anyone else’s beliefs or values. That is not my intention. I have respect for all beliefs. We each must follow our own path. It’s just that mine leads to Taco Bell, not church.
My Bible is bookmarked to my favorite passage. John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” For me, in the end, that sums up where we are today. I think if He were to drop by for a visit, and sit down and watch Fox, CNN, or any of the myriad of other 24-hour “news” channels, Jesus would indeed weep. We live in a society in which too many of His “followers” are more focused on building walls than bridges, and visiting their accountants rather than the sick and elderly. (Before you go on the defensive, note that I wrote “too many,” not all. If you don’t see yourself in this, it’s not you.)
So over time I’m going to ask myself the existential questions. But I’m not going to let that burn up a lot of my braincells. God knows, after the 70s, I don’t have a lot of them left to burn. I’m going to share my thoughts with you here. I hope you don’t mind. And if you do, as I tell people who don’t like The Big Bang Theory, turn the channel. You don’t have to watch.