EDIT (9:52 a.m.): I forgot to mention a big prayer request. An old friend of ours, Barb Woodruff (she’s just a few years older than me, married a couple years ago–Gabe has known her forever, I met her at camp), has been having seizures and can’t drive, do a lot of things she used to do. She’s at the Cleveland Clinic now, and they’ll probably have to remove part of her brain. This could have a dramatic effect on her memory, motor skills, etc. What a tough, tough situation. Please pray for Barb, her husband, her parents and siblings, the doctors. Pray for a perfect surgery, no complications, no loss of skills or memory–a miracle! Thank you.
Seize the day, for those of you whose Latin is rusty. I’ve been thinking a lot about this the past few days. About making the most of every day, about not knowing whether we even have a tomorrow.
Some of you might be following the story of Nate, Tricia, and baby Gwyneth. Tricia has cystic fibrosis, was on the list for a double lung transplant to keep her alive, got pregnant, had to be taken off the list, and just gave birth last week (at 24 weeks) to 1 pound, 6 ounce Gwyneth Rose. Tricia’s in and out of consciousness, I believe. She hasn’t met her baby yet. And she’s back on the list for the transplant. Nate blogs multiple times a day about how Tricia and Gwyneth are doing. People are rallying all over the world to support them in prayer.
Cystic fibrosis affects about 30,000 people in the U.S. Back in the 50’s, if you had CF, you probably wouldn’t survive elementary school. Today, people with CF are living into their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. In 2006, the predicted median age of survival was 37.
Last year, a girl e-mailed me. She had read and liked Blushing. She told me about her own plans to publish a book about her experience with CF and a double lung transplant. Her name is Amber Metz, and she just sent me a copy of her book Breathtaking in the mail (you can buy it herself to read her story and support her ministry). I’m halfway through it, and it’s going to be hard to look at life the same way when I’m finished. And I’m glad–I don’t want to.
She fought a lung transplant for the longest time (finally got one at 19 or 20). Why would you fight something that could save your life? Well, maybe because a new set of lungs can be expected to last you a mere 8-10 years. And then what? I just can’t imagine being Tricia or Amber (or Dylan, the little boy of friends of ours) and knowing that unless a cure is found (and fast!), you’ll be lucky to live to see 35. Or even 30. I’m 32.
Of course, any one of us could die today. Hundreds of CFers will outlive their friends and family who die in car accidents and from cancer. My friend Tammy was diagnosed with breast cancer in February of 2004 and was in heaven in May. A few years ago, a former student of mine went in for routine knee surgery and died of complications a couple weeks later.
Seize the day isn’t a cliche. We’ve really got to do it. I think of Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (the Hall of Faith in chapter 11, Trisha, Amber…), let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
How we seize the day will be different for all of us. Some days it sure won’t feel like we’re seizing it. I think we have to ask God each morning to show us how to live out carpe diem that day. Here’s what part of it looks like for me right now–getting rid of everything that entangles. Clearing out clutter–things that need managed and waste my valuable time trying to clean and organize it. Paring down to the bare essentials in clothes, dishes, books, etc.–eliminating hundreds of choices, saving time. Tasks completed (photos put in albums, etc) instead of hanging over me. I’m easily overwhelmed and can focus on important tasks at hand (mothering, writing, listening to people) when the mess around me is minimal.
Debts paid off. No worries each month, no monthly payments, no checks to write and mail. Freedom.
And I’m not just trying to be Thoreau. A huge part of that verse is about getting rid of sin. Clutter is easy. Sin’s a different story.
And it’s not all about getting rid of stuff. I also want to add things–more Bible reading, more prayer, more time with hubby and kids, more time sharing people’s burdens.
I want to find a way to live like I’ll only make it to 33 yet also live like I’ll be 103 someday and still breathing oxygen here on earth. It’s a great tension, a paradox.
I need to daily ask my Master Planner how each minute and hour of my life should go. I want to be free of sin and other entanglers, so I’ll be available for any surprises He brings into my day. I don’t want to fill it so full of my own plans that I can’t possibly squeeze His in.
I want to thank Him each day that I don’t suffer from a chronic illness. I’m not limited physically in what I can do. Just being sick for a couple weeks threw such a wrench into my plans.
I’m excited about this day. The writing is going well, and I really, truly feel His pleasure when I write. I love you guys and want to encourage you.
The sun is shining, and I need a shower. Happy Hump Day!