Mortality is a funny thing. Awareness of it comes in brief flashes, at random times throughout our lives. It can often come at what may at first seem like such an inopportune time, but is more likely to be right when needed. One such moment happened for me the other day when I had a preliminary sleep test done. Turns out I am having an event about every 4 minutes while I sleep where my O2 levels drop and my average oxygen amount is on the low-end of what doctors want. So it’s off for more tests to see about an official diagnosis this week.
Now, I have to follow this up by saying that I dislike doctors, I hate hospitals and clinics, and am just generally unhappy with the medical profession. This is nothing personal against the number of heroic and wonderful people who willingly give care to millions of people each and every day. And when I am in to see them I try to be the best behaved patient they meet for that day. But in part because of having spent many…MANY days and nights dealing with chronic health issues for years and years, I am increasingly leery as I get older, of going in to see a doctor for anything.
But back to this test…
As I was reading up online (actual reputable places like WebMD, etc), I began to realize just how easy it would be for me to not wake up sometime and why my doctor was so insistent that I get this test done. I called him back to set up the follow-up so here we are. But it made me wonder about my life, will I be here for when Boo gets married, for when D gets hitched? How many more years do I have and more importantly, what am I doing with them? When Boo asks for my attention, did I really give it to her? Did I play and focus on creating memories and stories that will last long past the time I’m gone? When D calls or texts, have I done enough to show D how I feel and how proud I AM of the good things D has done in life?
It also made me think about my father, who also has breathing problems (he’s got a CPAP, although it’s not helping as much as we’d like) and the fact that he turns 72 in just a few months. I honestly am not sure what to do without him in my life and I don’t even like thinking about it. My mother is 68, so it’s not like either one of them is a spring chicken anymore. But there is something terrifying I think when you think about losing your parents. Even more so than when considering losing your grandparents, which I have done years ago. It’s that lack of a buffer between you and the end. That creeping sense of the grains of sand leeching through the hour-glass. Am I ready to deal with the world without their guidance and sure hand helping me? Have I told them everything I want them to know? What about the questions I still haven’t found the answers to (most notably, at what point do you finally figure out this whole “growing-up” thing?)?
This is not to say that I am suddenly in a panic, desperately trying to flee from whatever happens. I’m not. My faith helps me feel secure in what comes after, and I am trying to improve the quality of the time AS WELL AS the quantity of time I spend with people, but it’s just been weighing on me more lately, as I reconsider my words, my actions and the priorities of my time. I want everyone I come in contact with to feel the love of the creator, to understand that they are precious and that this gift we call life is fragile and fleeting…but also that it is vibrant and strong.
I needed this. My father used to tell a story when he was preaching (yeah, he was a minister too), about a mule that would do anything you asked…but first you had to hit it with a 2×4 to get its attention. It was a metaphor he used to talk about our relationship to God, the world and each other. And Lord knows I have spent plenty of days wandering around without purpose or focus or otherwise knowing what I was doing and not appreciating what was around me. I have had many 2×4 moments in my life. This was another one.
I hope the time I am given is being well-spent.
I hope you know that whether we have been friends for years, are casual acquaintances or strangers new met, that I look forward to knowing more about you and hope nothing but the best for you.
I hope the Creator blesses you to be a blessing upon creation, in whatever form or fashion that takes.
I hope you know that you are loved.