Going for a Walk
A long while back, the idea of embryonic stem cell research and cloning were in the news. Scientists were defending the use of both techniques as ways in which science could help find cures of some of the most deadly diseases effecting human beings. They said they were just trying to do whatever they could to help people sickened by Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, heart disease, and cancer. Many people, including the church, came out strongly against these practices because they devalued life. Clergy people complained that it was kind of macabre to say that scientists wanted to save people from diseases by disrespecting those children who were aborted in such a vile, cruel way.
During this discussion, while believing that embryonic stem cell research was horrific and cloning was too “Dr. Frankenstein”-ish, I always tried to stand on the side of the scientific community since it wasn’t our enemy.
See, I believe God gave us science to make lives better.
As with all of us to whom God gave mouths to preach the Gospel and love our neighbor, but yet we use this gift to sin and speak horrible things, science has been given a great gift to investigate and find ways to help make lives better, and like us with our lips, sometimes they stray into a world of dark sinfulness. Yet the lives each of us live today are profoundly better because of science. The crops our farmers grow are stronger each season as scientists use plant DNA to fight crop diseases. In just the past few years, technology has leaped so far ahead that today that our environment is cleaner because our cars burn less gas. And yes, because of the advances in medicine, people are alive today who wouldn’t be just a decade or so ago.
This morning, as I sit in the home office, my life is better because of science. The modern techniques doctors used to treat my throat cancer have put me on a road to recovery; I thank God and my doctors for this.
Early on Tuesday morning, doctors removed two small cancerous tumors in my throat. This surgery was done in the least invasive way possible, ensuring the eradication of the tumors and a quick recovery for me. While my treatment is not complete – I have chemotherapy awaiting me – my doctors used the best tools they had at their disposal to give me back my life. And that is what they did.
For the past seven months, my mind has been focused on the idea that I wouldn’t survive. The cancer that I have (or is it had? I don’t know) is an aggressive, powerful cancer that metastasizes and grows quickly. Simply because of scientific study, my doctors have a growing knowledge base with new treatment ideas to fight this deadly disease and kill it. Every morning for the past seven months, I have awakened with a fear in my heart that the cancer could easily spread to my lungs and thus shorten my life. Some of those days, I thought about the hymns I would like sung at my funeral. And this was an everyday occurrence for me, no matter my outward appearance. The fear of death gripped me daily as I opened my eyes. Yet, because of prayer and the doctors who used the most modern and experimental treatments possible, this morning I woke up thinking about going for a walk without the fear of dying dancing in my head.
It was nice.
Thanks be to God!
I will be spending the next week trying to relax. My doctors and the Elders here at Saint Matthew’s have ordered it. Honestly, they are all correct. Fighting cancer and working as much I have really hasn’t been good for my health. I need to take a little time to relax, though I do not think this is in my DNA. I am around (give me a call whenever you want) and will be back in the pulpit on October 16th.