of the STARSHIP GENESIS Two-Seven
Passenger Log Stardate 21 August 2022
We Are Not Alone
The Passenger faced a most difficult time in the past two weeks to include a roller-coaster ride of events and emotions, tests and results with few answers, a separation of soul and self it seemed and then to be brought to an incredible reuniting of persons he had not seen for a very long time. It brought a mixture of joy and introspection. All the emotions and dynamic interactions were nearly too much to grasp. Then, just in the early morning hours of this day to learn that some things do remain in-tact though strained to the point of breaking… yet they can be constant, can still have meaning. This was all brought about by a phone message from another who suffers in the night from debilitating illness, his kidneys no longer are working as they should. He reached out because he reads ‘Voyage” and asked when the next one was due. I told him I’d hoped to get it out this weekend and it looks like I’ll be able to keep that on schedule. He and his niece both look forward to it and I trust this one will bring about some hope and it certainly carries my prayers.
He and I ‘spoke’ for some time about such things, about life, about those we love separated often by miles upon miles, and life’s unexpected events that are beyond our control. We talked about how we seek to find ourselves as we strive to live the best we can every day and what it will be, we hope, when we reach our last. An incredible talk that brought heartache and hope and a strong message to ourselves and those we love to not despair.
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. “~ Lamentations 3:25 “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” ~ Psalm 27 :14 “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” ~ Micah 7:7
. – I read those somewhere once – thought them worth repeating!
AN EYE (I) PROBLEM
It is not unlikely, the Passenger has learned, that one with a disease that is so devastating in its results that the bearer of such a malicious interloper within his body can also develop I problems. I have developed eye problems as the result of previous damage to my eye and the wear and tear of aging, Cataracts and poor vision are not uncommon; but here the Passenger reminds me of the I problems. It is so easy to be inward focused with all the medications, the doctors visits, the tests that seem to go on and on. With time on our hands ~ because the days sometimes now have long spaces in them and the nights not always are joined by sleep and pleasant dreams ~ that in those hours, it is too easy to focus on the problems, the challenges, the disease I have. It is good to be reminded that we are not alone in this ride across the sky. There are lots of other starships, millions of other Passengers who are on their own voyages. .
The conversation with my friend from the east coast reminded me that there are many people who sit up in the night because their body won’t let them function like they would hope. A short talk with another retired cop at a recent required firearms qualification revealed to me that he’s three years in remission for leukemia. Just looking around at the group of retired cops, I noticed how many were no longer with us at this annual event. The other night I watched my grandson play high school football, their first varsity game of the season – a real corker, double over time – and a win! Two rows down from me a retired deputy. He talked cop-talk with a couple of the on-duty guys and with another who stopped by and it was obvious he greatly longed to still be ‘on the job’. Then he got up to leave. He could barely stand, struggled to get down the couple of steps and slowly made his way out. Reminders, all around the Passenger this week – we are not alone. And we all know the old adage…
We all have our bears to cross! (You just hope they don’t wake up while you are doing it!)
It wasn’t just among the cops this past week that such lessons came. Last Saturday I had the great joy of celebrating a family reunion and a bit of a birthday bash for me since I am turning 65 on the 27th. I was there and saw so many people like my Uncle Rex, one of my dad’s younger brothers. Rex is 94 now. He is still getting along great for 94! Roger, a cousin who couldn’t be there, his health is so poor. Others who were in the picture at the last reunion who are not in the picture now. A great time, great memories, and a few good reminders! It’s good to not pay too close attention to one’s own I problems. Yesterday evening I spoke with a retired, career-nurse. She told how she could never work pediatrics. As a young college student, she was volunteering at a local children’s hospital and was assigned to a section of all terminally ill children, mostly cancer patients. After a few months there she knew she could never work in that environment and, no doubt, working with terminally ill children is a calling that is greatly rewarding and many days heart-wrenching. The next time you drive past any hospital but particularly a children’s hospital, say a prayer as you look at all those windows which likely have at least one child in there longing to be anywhere else. I humbly confess and ask God to cure me of my I disease.
Recent Tests and Results?
I promised my friend JT last night I’d report the results of the last tests. You may recall from the last VOYAGE that I had a breathing test, a CAT scan and because of the CAT, a bronchoscopy with biopsies of parts of the lung. The bronchoscopy showed a great many of the bronchi throughout both lungs filled with a ‘pudding texture goo’ (Doc’s words not mine). The doctor used a lavage treatment to clean it out as best he could. To describe lavage – it is like sending an industrial size power sprayer that could clean the highest sides of Cleveland’s Terminal Tower without leaving the sidewalk level into my lungs and hosing it down. It was fed, I believe by a 2.5 inch firehose at about a 110 pounds of pressure at the nozzle. Okay, not all of that last part is true. (You might have to go up five stories at Terminal Tower to reach the very top!)
The cultures of whatever that Winnie the Pooh kind of ‘hunny’ is in my lungs is still being studied at the lab. It is not believed to be infection but maybe an inflammatory response. It was not there when I was on high dose steroids but it is now that I am off. So… the doc is adding steroids again to my regimen but at not quite as high a dose as before. The other cultures from the biopsy are also still being studied. There are a multiplicity of these new spots in both lungs that were not there before and again, they not certain what it is but it is not believed to be an infection that would respond to antibiotics. So… we wait on that. My lung capacity is still good, the lung function is where it was before. We may opt for some additional therapy to strengthen my core muscles to take the burden off my lungs. I had put on 20 pounds while on steroids and have taken off ten of those while off them… but going back on – it will be a battle of the wills. I guess either I have the will to do the therapy and exercise or someday my lawyer will be reading my will! I have a great many reasons to make as much of the therapy as I can – like thirteen wonderful grandchildren and their parents and reasons that reach from the highest of peaks to those way down under! Staying strong – focusing on the future – the good future and knowing you and I are NOT alone!
Jesus told His disciples when He knew He would be away from them for a time –that He would always be there for them – The New Living Testament writes it this way and I think it is a comfort to all of us who struggle and particularly when we are a long way from those we love so dearly and long to be with… NLT translates Matthew 28:20 “And be sure of this I am with you always even to the end of the age.” I added the bold italic to that first part – and be sure of this – There is no reason to wonder, to wish, to guess and especially no reason to despair – BE SURE – I am with you always. .. We may not understand God’s purpose right at the moment. We may see absolutely no way to turn things around, how to even get back to where we want to be. But God is in control and He will work everything out in His time to His plan and we can be assured He only wants what is best for us!
God spoke to Jeremiah and the promise He made to him can be understood as God’s plans for each of us. The New Living Translation presents Jeremiah 29:11 this way: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” I want everyone who reads this, particularly JT and his niece as they struggle with his physical difficulties and her own very difficult time trying to care for him and not be able to be where she longs and needs to be… they are like so many of the others of you who read this and pray for me… we all have our bears and Jesus is not leaving us and God has plans for us for good so we can have hope. The future isn’t here yet so we can take it as it comes and watch God unfold it before us. JT told me last night that when his final days are done he wants to go with no regrets and to know he has had fun. He went on to say… that in reality, for all of us, what will be will be. I am thankful that as true as that last statement is… what will be is in God’s hands!
God bless all of you who read and follow along with the VOYAGE! And, since what is finding its way to fill my lungs is similar to Winnie the Pooh’s “hunny” there are two quotes of little Pooh Bear that bear repeating (unless you are being quiet crossing a bear) whew! – and they both happen to be very close to this Voyage theme – We are Not Alone – Winnie the Pooh tells his dearest friend Christopher, “If you live to be 100, I hope that I live to be 100 minus one day so that I never have to live a day without you.” And I’ll close with this of his, “The most important thing is, even when we’re apart… I’ll always be with you…” [i] Know that Christ is always with you… always.
(quotes of WTP and picture courtesy of News.Disney.com)