J Walking

Beliefnet blogs – with the exception of my colleague Rod Dreher who must be truly living right – were down all weekend through yesterday afternoon. In a way it was a bummer because I didn’t get to write, and in a way it was a blessing because I didn’t much feel like writing. My chemo course ended on Sunday and with it came a sort of numbed exhaustion – kind of like the aftermath of a marathon, too much wine, and the flu.

So for all of Sunday, all of yesterday and some of today I have been sprawled out on my bed snoring away. It must have been bad. My big Newfie dog, who could sleep through even the loudest burglar, kept jumping off the bed and running away only to return, nose me with her big cold nose and then settle back down before bolting again.

As I discovered back in 2003 when I was first diagnosed with a brain tumor and was immersed in surgery and recovery – for a full recount of that experience you can go to an old website some friends established – the first thing that fell away for me was any political or controversial thought. I just wasn’t interested anymore. And that was when I was working in the White House.

I didn’t have the energy for it and it all seemed so very petty. Those things just didn’t matter when I was fighting for life. Neither did sports or entertainment or anything else. I remember going back over the papers from May and June of 2003 to see what I had missed only to realize I hadn’t missed anything. There were various controversies that erupted but not a single one that held any lasting significance. Some politicians said some things and then others said something else and so on and so on. It was easy to reengage because nothing had changed.

Maybe that is one of the reasons I’ve suggested the political fast; because during that time I came to realize how daily political obsession could be dropped and picked up again without missing a beat.

During that period of recovery all I cared about was Jesus – the shepherd who knew me, hadn’t forgotten about me, and loved me. I remembered that the Lord is my shepherd. I do not want. There was immeasurable peace in those simple words.

This past week of chemo made me think back to that time. Not because I was so ill or so scared or so utterly overwhelmed, but because I was reminded again how small and frail I am and how much I need my shepherd no matter how strong I think I am.

Illness of any sort that knocks you on your back or regularly drops you to your knees in front of a toilet quickly resets any out-of-whack priorities. It reminds you of eternal things and their primacy and puts temporal things in their proper place.

So it was today when someone suggested that I blog on a New York Times story about gay evangelicals I found myself unable to stomach any political commentary about it. The same is true of another story about the fall of another evangelical pastor. It would be great controversy and perhaps a great opportunity to make some grand point. But I have no desire for it. That desire will return, because there are important things to be said and important debates to be engaged and because I continue to believe everything I’ve written about. But that isn’t today.

Today, I am possessed by something altogether different – remembering again what it means to walk with Jesus. That, at the end of the day, is what this blog is about. And while that may mean my posts don’t generate a flurry of comments or links to other blogs around the world I know that writing about the wonderful, weird, surreal, painful, confusing, fearsome, peaceful, awesome walk with Jesus matters most to me. It is the most important thing that I can write because it is the truest thing that I can write.

Then there is this simple picture of my 17-month-old daughter sitting on my chair devouring her favorite new book. I am glad she has good taste. I feared she might pick up one of my truly boring policy books.

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