Very early in my relationship with the man I eventually married, he disclosed a medical condition that he was diagnosed with some five years earlier. Dermatomyositis, a rare inflammatory disease, in which symptoms include muscle pain, muscle tenderness, fatigue, and possible lung problems. After being treated for the symptoms he was experiencing at the time, he became symptom free and disproved the claim by the doctor that he’d be in a wheelchair within five years. Fast forward another five years, symptoms returned, likely ignited from the constant travel he was doing with his job. Fast forward another few years and now he’s been diagnosed with a life threatening lung disease for which there is known cure. The week of Christmas his lung doctor informed us that she doesn’t foresee him qualifying for the lung transplant that he needs to save his life in time before the disease ends his life. She advised us to call Hospice for Palliative Care.
Merry Christmas, right?
By God’s grace we still had a wonderful holiday. We hugged more, gazed into each other’s more. Reminisced on our time together. No matter what had transpired between us throughout the years, we always enjoyed holiday time with our families. Since it could be his last Christmas with us, my husband dazzled us in the kitchen: corned beef and cabbage, pot roast and carrots, crablegs. Everything was delicious!
“You could’ve been doing this all the time, SIR.” I said with a wide grin on my face but very serious.
My husband is standing toe to toe with his mortality. In turn, that means I am too. Over these last several months that we’ve been dealing with my husband’s health challenges, he has said too many times than I care to count, “I’m dying, Char.” “I might not be here tomorrow.” Specifically during this holiday season, “This might be my last (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve).
The stinging in my heart is always the same and so is my response. “Honey, tomorrow is not promised to any of us. We have to enjoy and be blessed in this day that we’ve been given.”
“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118:24 KJV)
“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matt 6:11 KJV)
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought of the things of itself.” (Matt 7:34 KJV)
God gives us our lives in daily increments. Not weeks, months, and years. In our human nature, giving little thought to the many possibilities of death that we face in the world every day, we make plans for the future. Our short term and long term goals. Where we our next home to be or our next car. Where we’re going to vacation to next summer. In just this first few days of 2016, some people already have the entire year planned out.
It’s nothing wrong with being hopeful for the future, but God’s message to us is clear. We only have today, right now. Not five minutes, not an hour, not five hours from now. Right now. Anything else that follows is God’s grace.
So although my husband is dealing with this life threatening disease, I encourage him (and myself and friends and family) to live each day as though it were our last. Because it could be. I thank God each day that I wake up. I thank Him the same for my loved ones and friends and I encourage you all to do the same.
On this first Sunday of 2016, I say “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”