I read a blog today of a lady’s unexpected health problem and the fear she is now experiencing. I understand completely her fears, not knowing the answer is the most difficult part. One can deal with a diagnosis, good or bad, we can move on, make plans and get busy living with the time we have left. In 2008, I came down with the flu really bad. So bad I developed vertigo. I was so dizzy I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t see, and I couldn’t type. The latter issue being the worst because it was smack dab in the beginning of tax season. My livelihood depended upon being able to crunch numbers and place them in tax software. When the vertigo didn’t cease I had to go through all the tests including a CT scan to determine the presence of tumors. This is when mortal fear sets in and you realize you just might be seeing your life flash before you. Luckily for me, after a few more tests, it was determined a nerve from my ear to my brain was irreparably damaged and the only course of action was to retrain my brain with exercises for the eyes to takeover the equilibrium mechanism. After 8 months of therapy, my equilibrium was restored. I’m one of the lucky ones, or maybe my prayers were answered, just not in the time I expected them to be. I believe in the power of prayer, I’ve seen its power for others and for myself, more than once.
One of my clients, an orthopedic surgeon in the same town, had a similar issue but it attacked his central nervous system and he lost the majority of his motor functions. He lost his ability to work and was burdened by a daily expensive cocktail of drugs to make life bearable.
It was about that time that the economy took another dive. This being the fourth one in my adult life. It is moments such as these that you reconsider life as you know it. Those things we’ve chased only to be outrun, or run over by them. Time is all I have and its quantity is unknown. When desires and people waste that time, it takes your mind to a new realm. A realm where life is not taken for granted, and that money and social acceptance are unworthy goals. This year my wife and I went to Hawaii, the island of Kauai. For those of you who are spiritual, a visit to Hawaii is a blessing to all your senses.
We took a drive to Kalalau lookout. That day the Pacific and the sky were one color, as though eternity stood before me. I felt as though I was in the presence of God. It was at that moment all my anxieties of the future were released.
On our last day of discovery we took a dinner cruise where we stood at sea level looking back up 4,000 feet at the point I described above. There I had the same reaction – blissfully awed and at peace, with the sound of rushing water providing a calming rhythm. I was brought back to a time 34 years ago when I climbed the 8,000 foot summit of Guadalupe Peak in Texas, where I sat down alone and viewed west Texas and Mexico to the south, with only the sound of wind and the sights of earth and sky as my companion. I also recall that same peace, only to forget it later from the demands of family and career over the next three decades. How did it go by so quickly?
So what is my point? We search our entire lives for seemingly unattainable goals. You reach a salary point, and then you want more. Then in the flash of a second you can be forced into a sober analysis of the path you were taking. You step back and look at all the trinkets you’ve obtained made from the resources of this remarkable planet, realizing none of it truly was what you wanted, but thought were supposed to have. We plunge ourselves into ultimate driving machines with ultimate debt, and even reconstruct our own bodies to cheat mortality. But as it has been said wisely, “He who dies with the most toys, is still dead.”
My health issue was a moment of rebirth, the answer that all my 2-year and 5-year plans were absolutely absurd. So I am selling everything I own and looking to live the remaining years more on the minimalist side, down-sizing to what a man and wife really need – basic shelter and the environment to rejuvenate our body and soul. For me it is not about the quantity of my life, but the quality. When I stood at the Kalalau lookout, I was at peace with myself and if God truly wanted to take me, I was ready. We live in an age where belief in the unseen is mocked. My trials and tribulations have only made my faith stronger and I am unashamed of admitting it. It lead me to write my mythological trilogy and the upcoming series to complete my mythology of good and evil, faith, and the simple things of life we take for granted, such as the sounds and sights of creation, and the peace a moment spent alone in that surrounding can bring.