Whether I have been healed by God through the power of prayer or through the natural reactions of my God-gifted body, I am – for now anyway – healed. Whatever the outcome, I have been healed, for I am at peace. So for me the question remains the one posed at the top of this reflection by the great New England naturalist poet Mary Oliver, as it is should for everyone, regardless of health or healing: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Perfection (and the search for perfection) is a tough nut to crack and a dangerous road to journey down. For if we live our lives in constant quests for perfect lives, perfect love, perfect health, perfect family, perfect jobs – how disappointed in ourselves and in God we will be when that perfection never comes (or makes a brief appearance and then disappears in the next turn in the road, as it often does.)
If we live our lives well (at least this is the way I define “well”) then we live not in numbness and lethargy and apathy, but fully alive and feeling, aware of the sacred around us, and with an ongoing commitment to living an examined life — one centered on the presence of God, the teachings of Christ, and the power of the individual to change the world in some way, however small.
On February 24, a week and a few days after a bone marrow biopsy, I learned that I have a new, and more serious health condition than the one I have been battling over the past four years. In fact, it was the chemotherapy I received this past summer for that disease, called Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), that is the cause of my new health challenge. Against 99 to 1 odds, the chemo seriously damaged my bone barrow to the point where I have a condition called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS, formerly known as “preleukemia”).