Browse Month: April 2020

Celebrating Life in Isolation

It is hard to believe that we will soon enter the sixth week of COVID-19 isolation. I have heard it said that it takes about three weeks to form a habit, whether good or bad. If that is the case, then this new norm of self-isolation has already become a habit that all of us would be happy to break.

How do we celebrate life in the midst of isolation? It seems uncanny to talk about celebrating life after hearing about the tragic and senseless death of 17 people in Nova Scotia this past weekend. It is Canada’s worst mass shooting in history, and the death toll could still rise. How do we cope with such an unprecedented time in world history?

To help us manoeuvre this present reality, I invite you to learn a lesson from the blood that flows through your body. Every visit I have made to my oncologist in the past year has been preceded by a blood test. One thing that they look for in my testing results is what they call tumour markers which indicate whether the cancerous tumours have increased or decreased in size. The goal is to see the tumour marker percentages decrease. At their peak, my tumour levels were at 188. Following surgery and chemotherapy, my markers have gone as low as 1.5, this is a reason I celebrate life!

In this time of isolation and tragedy, I want to challenge you to look for and dwell upon what I will call life markers. Take time to make a list of the life moments that you have experienced over the years. Moments when God breathed life into a situation that otherwise would have been devastating or tragic. Unlike tumour markers, you want the percentage of life markers to increase.

Although we cannot live in the past, bringing out life markers from the past is a little like tending a flower garden. Like flowers, life markers need watering from time to time, even if they are watered with our tears. It is God’s way of reminding you that just like He was in control of situations in your past, He sees you in your present isolation or tragedy, and will continue to hold you by your right hand in the future. 

This past weekend, in the midst of isolation, my family managed to pull off a memorable virtual birthday celebration. MJ and I agreed that we were celebrating life, not age. As one of my Facebook friends put it: “Happy LIFEday!”

The Psalmist reminds us how fleeting life is: “Each man is but a breath.” (Psalm 39). Psalm 73:26 says: “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.”

I love one of the footnotes in my Life Application Bible: “Above all, these trials help us realize that life is a gift from God to be cherished, not a right to be taken for granted.”

As long as God gives me breath, I am determined to celebrate life!

Until next time…

Don

A Huge Shout Out to Health Care Workers!

We are living in unprecedented times. Outside of those working in essential services, most of us are in a world-wide period of isolation. Today, I devote my musings to all of those work within the health care system. 

For the last eleven months, I have been the recipient of incredible doctors, surgeons, nurses, administrative staff, orderlies, cleaning staff, and volunteers. I learned that it takes a whole community of people, many of them working behind the scenes, to make the medical system work effectively.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to thank all of those who helped me get through my cancer surgeries and chemo treatments. Because of God’s touch and the God-given gifting’s of health workers, I am now officially back to work, even though, like the majority of you, I am working in isolation.

Long before the Covid 19 pandemic raised its ugly head, I found myself asking God to bless the work of everyone’s hands who make up the health care system. Every time I drive by the hospital that became my second home for eleven months, I pray for the entire team who work 24/7 to make health care such a vital part of our society.

Now more than ever, we need to pray for and encourage all health care workers. In the best of times, they are under incredible pressure to perform effectively. Throw into that pressure cooker of performance a virus that is literally shutting down our world, and you have the potential for health care workers to be stretched toward the brink of mental and physical exhaustion. We must commit to honouring and praying for those who are working tirelessly to get the upper hand in this pandemic.

During my health journey, I discovered that not all patient’s respond with a loving and caring attitude toward those who care for them. Sickness can bring out the true character of selfishness that lies within a person’s heart. It is the health care workers and volunteers who take the brunt of that pharisaical selfishness.

One day, Jesus was having dinner at the home of Levi, a tax collector, where many of his colleagues joined Jesus and his disciples around the table. When the Pharisees saw him eating with the tax collectors, they criticised Jesus. He responded by saying: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

Whether healthy or sick, let us take the time to honour, thank, and pray for those who work in the medical system. I made it my goal to put a smile on the face of everyone I came in contact with at the Cedar Cancer Institute in Montreal. How could I ever treat with disdain those who were working tirelessly to restore me to wholeness!

Today, I give a humongous shout out to all health workers around the world, including my daughter. You are my heroes!!!

 

Until next time…

Don


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