I woke up rather early this morning because I had a doctors appointment at 7am. Before I got all showered up & ready, I sat down to read the Bible and try and meditate a little bit. (Not the easiest thing for me, because my prayer life seems to simply suck. It feels like I am talking to a wall most of the time. Never the less...)
I read and re-read Psalm 103 a bunch of time and just thought about the verses over & over again. (Pastor Scott preached through this Psalm last Sunday. He was speaking about God's "Promise of Satisfaction" for our lives.) One of the things this Psalm points out is the incredible difference between the God of the universe and the beings that he has created. A couple of the passages that stuck in my mind were quite relevant for what had been happening over this past 48 hours, and they go like this...
"As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and it's place remembers it no more."
So how was that relevant to me and my situation over the past 48 hours? Well, Monday morning, around 12:30AM, I got a call from my dad that he was taking mom to the hospital. Something goofy was going on with her heart...again. He called from the hospital a few hours later to tell me that there was nothing to worry about, (Just a routine emergency) and that she would be fine. They put a stint in her heart this morning. Now she's home and, trooper that she is, wants to go out to eat at the Olive Garden. (Still, something like this always makes your heart race a bit.)
As for myself, I had to be at the doctor's office bright & early this morning for my very first colonoscopy exam. WOOT! So I had spent the day of my mom's hospital run with my own RUN, so to speak...to the bathroom and back, after drinking 64oz's of Miralax to clean out my system in preparation for the doctor's garden hose with the camera attached. Needless to say, it gave me plenty to think about when it comes to the fragility of human beings. I found those verses to be almost ironic as I read them over and over.
I shall write my thoughts on them a bit later, but first...
IN, Through the Out Door.
I thought I would explain a bit about the whole colonoscopy procedure, not to gross anyone out, but actually to encourage anyone else who may be facing one down the road. The fact is that it really is important as you get older to get these every few years...especially if you are a man. So I'll break it down for you:
#1. The first thing you should know is that this whole thing is extremely & brutally painful!!! The hose they use is only slightly smaller in diameter than a fire hose...with bits of tin-shards & chunks of brillo-pads glued to the sides for maximum discomfort, with it's length being somewhere from 10 to 15 feet. It doesn't help with privacy either that they tend to film the whole procedure live, and beam it directly to local comedy clubs...with your driver's license photo displayed in the upper-left corner.
OK, maybe not. That was for Tom, because he is slowly but surely closing in on this experience for himself.
#1. Actually, this was perhaps the easiest procedure I have ever been through. The whole thing lasts only about 20 minutes. I never felt a thing even though I was conscious the whole time. (It's kind of cool to watch the whole thing on the TV screen too.) The only pain I felt was when they took the I.V. off, because the medical tape kept yanking at the hair on my arm.
#2. The "Prep" the night before is not even close to being as bad as everyone jokes about. Yeah, you have to drink that whole concoction over the course of a few hours, and poop it all out for about 3 more. But so what? If you have ever had a flu with the "Hershey Squirts," I can assure you that that is much worse than the Miralax flood. About an hour after you start drinking it, you'll have to poop about every fifteen minutes or so, but there is no stomach discomfort at all. (I do recommend that you mix half of the mixture with cranberry, pomegranate, or cherry juice. It will hide the flavor, so that you won't taste it at all. No Orange juice or sugary flavored crap, though.)
#3. The aftermath of the whole procedure is fairly easy. After it's complete you just have to wait a while for the some mild anesthesia to wear off, and that's about it. The best part is that the evidence of it wearing off is that you have to fart...a lot! In the words of one of the nurses, "It's music to our ears." (They pump air mixed with some gassy stuff into you as the camera goes in, so you have to let it all out.) Well, how often to you get rewarded for beefing in public? Seriously, the nurses even cheered me on. You might as well have some fun with it. I myself played the old polka tune "In Heaven there is no Beer" in my head, and provided the tuba section. It was a beautiful thing, and a good time was had by all.
And now for a bit more serious stuff.
"...for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust."
"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor."
So human beings are fragile indeed. When I was young, especially a teenager, I thought I was invincible & immortal. Now I know a little bit better.
The human condition in regards to the creator of the universe is a strange situation. We are finite. God is infinite. We live only a certain number of years. God is eternal. We are stuck in a half dimension of time, forever being trapped in only the ability to move forward. YHWH is outside the boundaries of time. We are dust. God knows it. And yet, God has blessed us with some amazing abilities, whether we recognize & acknowledge that they come from him or not.
God has created us in his image...everyone...even those who don't believe in God. Check this out; in the second creation story, the Man doesn't come to life until God breathes his breath into him. The same word for "Breath" in ancient Hebrew is the same for "Spirit" (Ruah). In other words, you don't come to life until God puts his spirit in you. And when you breath your last breath, you are breathing out the Ruah. (There are a couple of huge sermons in that whole idea, huh?)
(I'm always amazed at people who tell me that they don't believe in God, or that he is not relevant to them. I keep thinking to myself, "How can you miss the fact that he is breathing through you right now?")
So humans are fragile, and yet God pays attention to us even when we willfully ignore him. God blesses us, even when we rebel. He sends rain on the just and the unjust...whether we deserve it or not. We are made in his image, to act as his ambassadors on earth and to steward his creation. Yet, more often then not, we turn away from him to do our own thing.
Maybe that's why we need these physical inconveniences to give us a reality check from time to time.
I have always been a big fan of the old Progressive Rock group YES. They have a song that I have been listening to quite a bit over the last few days. It's titled "Turn of the Century." The song is about a sculptor and his wife. They deeply love each other, and she tends to be his muse. As he begins to work on his masterpiece, his wife falls ill and dies.
In his grief & pain, the artist begins to reform his sculpture into the likeness of his wife. As he works on the statue, he can feel his wife's memory become clearer and clearer until it is as if she is there in the room again...but ultimately, it is only his memory. There is a line in the song that I think is superb, "Like leaves we touched." So fragile, so delicate, so temporary...so beautiful.
Here's the short version of the song.
"Like leaves we touched, we danced
We once knew the story
As Autumn calls we'll all remember
all those many years ago."
"But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lords love is with those who worship him,
and his righteousness with their children's children."