My doctor was proud of me, yesterday, when I weighed in on the office scale at something like 41 pounds less than the record showed I weighed last summer. If the blood tests come back looking good, I'll come off the statin drugs. Because it's been ten years since my treatments, the lab will also check to see if I'm still free of the Hepatitis C virus. I suspect so. It's taken these ten years, I think, to recover from the chronic fatigue and general malaise that I always thought must be laziness on my part, but that turns out to have probably resulted from low-level, long-term liver damage. I looked at the list of complaints I had brought in last year, and most of them don't apply anymore. I'm talking to a guy in church about the exercise program he's on, trying at age 40 to stay in top shape (he's an ex-Marine).
And there's something to be said for longevity, for being around awhile and seeing how things change, and how they stay the same. I feel in a league with people like Abraham and Moses, who were both older than I am before they really got started. Not that I'm interested in waiting any longer. But I'm not frantic, either way. Taking up music again. Worrying less about the impossible projects that I hack away at, day after day. Enjoying my children, all grown now but still nearby. Life is good.
The nag in the back of my head says, Don't enjoy this too much, or you'll pay for it with some disaster. Yeah, yeah. Buddy, I have always counted my disasters up front, and still do. There's no reason in this world why I'm walking around healthy while others are struck down, by disease, traffic, weather, or war. I know it's not fair, and I know it's not guaranteed either. But I also know that if I can't enjoy some good while I've got it, how can I wish an improved lot on someone else? What would I be giving them? An obligation to walk under their own load of guilt over undeserved good fortune? That way lies madness.
So I do wish, and work, for an improved lot for others as well as myself, in pursuit of the fulfillment of the prayer we are taught: "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." It's a kingdom of peace, so I discipline myself to live from a peaceful center, and work to be a peacemaker when I can. It's a kingdom of love, so I bathe in the love I receive from God and others, and in my own small way try to give it away also.
And I do this in the midst of a daily routine that directly encounters pain, illness, poverty, bureaucracy, and the constant barrage of news that tells me that the kingdom work must go on at full bore until kingdom come. That is as it should be. Even the risen Christ still has scars in his hands and side; should not those who receive a taste of glory also partake of those wounds?