Not so many years ago I turned forty. The whole thing was more or less anticlimactic. There were not many noticeable changes in my life, at least not many that I noticed. One change that I did reluctantly make was to find a doctor so that I could have one to see for regular checkups and such.
I made this change reluctantly for two reasons. First, I hate needles. I always have. While I was well aware of advances in medical technology, I suspected that on some occasions needles would still be used. I was right; they are.
My second reason for being reluctant was the pattern that I had observed among the members of the churches that I served — that being that once people start going to the doctor they always seem to need to go back to the doctor, or to go to another doctor and then go back to the first doctor, so that it seems that there is always a visit to the doctor looming in their future. Turns out I was right again.
I have several friends, and more acquaintances, that have completed degrees in ministry and theology. Discussing theology with them is something that I enjoy. My newest and best friend is Dr. Chris Ramsey. His degree is not in theology. His degree is in urology. He is a great guy, though our conversations are not nearly as interesting or enjoyable as those that I have with other friends. Yet he has pastoral sense about him. I felt his gentleness and his concern when he told me that my prostate is cancerous. He is thoughtful as well. Yesterday he promised to see me regularly until he retires. You see what I mean? That was exactly why I was reluctant to go the doctor in the first place. Once you start, they always find a reason for you to come back for another visit.
So now I am thankful. I am thankful that there is something that can be done. In fact, I have options. I have to make a choice about which treatment I want. How different that is from being in a situation where there are no options, no treatment, nothing that can be done.
I am thankful for all the people I have known who have faced disease, sickness and surgery and live to tell the tale. I am especially grateful for those men that I know who have had prostate cancer and continue to live life to its fullest. There have been many occasions in my life when I sought to give comfort to those who were facing medical challenges. Little did I realize that they were teaching me and preparing me to face my own challenges.
I am thankful for Patti, Josh and Will for who they are to me and what they mean to me. While my condition is a long way from being life threatening, nonetheless it does give me pause to consider those people who are most important to me. In a similar way, I think of others in my family who mean much to me. Likewise, I am blessed with dear friends who freely share their love with me and lift prayers for me.
I am also thankful for church people. Even before I told you about my condition, I was already drawing strength from you. You are a gift. You bring the presence of Christ to whomever you meet, even me. Thank you.
I am also a little scared. I still do not like needles, nor am I sure how I feel about a robot being turned loose inside of me. If I knew more, I would most likely be more afraid. But I do know that God is with me and that God will never leave me nor forsake me. Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers.