Sunday, October 30, 2011

October 30: Beginning to Recover

Today is just day 12 of this round of chemo, which was a full—in fact, a very high—dose of Cytarabine. I would have expected the time frames to be the same as my first round of chemo. On the first round, though, I didn't feel any recovery until day 15. This time, I've been feeling better for four days in a row.

Even the hemorrhoids are healing. (Sorry for bringing those up again.)

Picture by my wife
I've spent some time thinking about what we're supposed to be doing on this earth. If I felt as bad as I felt a few days ago, would I want thirty extra years on this earth? And if I did, why?

I'm a believer. I'm not only a Christian, but I'm a Christian that believes the teachings of Christianity. I may not be good at following through, but I don't believe that my purpose on earth is to enjoy life. I think I'm alive to glorify God. I don't get to choose how my life goes; I've turned that over to God.

I think the result of that is a joyful life.

I think the purposes of God are simple. As the great wise man Solomon concluded, everything else is vanity except to love God and keep his commandments. And as both Jesus and Paul said, all his commandments are summed up in the command to love one another.

I believe that where people honor the message of Christ (which I think is best summed up in Matthew, chapters five through seven, the Sermon on the Mount), people live in joy. There they know that all men are created equal. There they know that the pursuit of money is the rejection of God and leads to misery. There they know that selflessness is the route to the greatest joy. There they know to listen to the guidance of God and live in compassion.

It's definitely fall here in Nashville
Not everywhere knows that. In the heart of India, where the message of Christ has never been preached, a caste system prevails that works just fine for some of the people some of the time. For others, it results in misery, slavery, and sometimes unspeakable cruelty. There, all men are not created equal, but some are born to servitude and others to rule.

I know today's post is not about leukemia, but since I'm thinking about purposes, all that other stuff comes up in my mind.

Here's what I feel like God wants me to do with the rest of my life, after the transplant:

  • Pass on everything I know to my children.
  • Teach until no one will let me teach anymore.
  • Learn how to establish indigenous businesses in third-world countries (and empower others to do so) because I think it's the best way to alleviate suffering in the long run.

Well, maybe I've said too much on a blog devoted to my leukemia experience, not my philosophies. I am, however, among those who think it's a shame that school students are no longer told that Rome fell because of immorality, laziness, and selfishness. I am among those horrified that selflessness and sharing is taking a back seat to "Look out for Number One."

Just a picture I liked as I was walking yesterday
I learned those things in public schools and in Department of Defense schools, not in religious schools. Our culture used to honor meekness and kindness. Too often today such virtues are seen as simply naive. Our culture used to honor self-control, but now we live in the devastating mess of our immorality, trying to figure out how to support a government that has to support the unbelievable number of single mothers and jails that swarm with grown children from dysfunctional families.

We are living what I was warned about as a child in public schools, but that's not much announced today. Immorality destroys a society. The equality of all people and the exaltation of kindness, giving, humility, and self-control produces a society of remarkable joy and opportunity.


  1. Great blog Shammah. Just one more thing to add to your list...2 actually....Write more books and run the bad water race :)

  2. Oh, yeah, Badwater.

    What I'm hoping is that this cord blood will give me some better physical DNA that might make me respond to training better.

    I need to get to that Badwater before Quinn is too old to run it with me!