J Walking

J Walking

And just one more

I have, I think, just one more round of chemo left.
When I go through my pill popping regimen tomorrow morning it will be the last time for this particular round of drugs. Twenty-three rounds, it seems, is enough.
What comes next? We’ll go back to what we did after the surgery. We’ll watch and measure and see if the remaining area grows any once we stop. If it does we’ll probably need to zap it with radiation. That we will eventually have to do something else is likely because mine is a chronic condition, not an acute one.
But that will be then. This is now.
I’m still in a round of chemo and therefore the world is a bit fuzzier than it normally is. As such clarity isn’t necessarily found all that easily.
On the other hand though, there is a clarity that comes with chemo that is invaluable.
It is my monthly reminder of mortality, my monthly reset button that brings me back to the point of remembering what really matters and what really doesn’t and the difference between the two. It is kind of stunning that I need this monthly reminder. You’d think, really, that that brain tumor surgery or the regular checkups would do the trick – and they have and do in their own way. But the chemo is different, it is just more regular.
Not that Jesus really needs anymore affirmation but the older I get the more awed I am by him and by his wisdom.
His parable of the seed and sower couldn’t be more accurate – there is seed that falls on ground that is rocky and ground that is full of weeds. It falls on thin soil and rich soil. All of the seeds bloom but only the one in fertile soil takes hold and produces a bumper crop.
Jesus explained it this way,


The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

God teaches us lessons – sews seeds – constantly. The question is whether we receive it and whether we really live it.
I pray that the spiritual seeds that he has sewn through these last two years of chemo have fallen in fertile soil and that in the years ahead they will produce a crop of goodness.

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posted November 19, 2008 at 9:46 am

A life well lived especially hard cirumstance is an honor to Christ.

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posted November 19, 2008 at 11:39 am

The process is one Roberta Bondi calls “wearing away the heart.” Many more blessings to you, friend.

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posted November 19, 2008 at 1:37 pm

“Living in the moment” has held a deeper meaning for me as I’ve journeyed with Jesus through my own struggles. I pray you will continue to draw closer to Him and see the beauty in each day. He is in the details!

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posted November 19, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Blessings, J-Walker.
I had the horror and honor of walking beside my wife through her chemotherapy. It is a beast. A big, hulking beast. But we got to the other side. Two years after, we are grateful for every single day (and live with accompanying gusto!).

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posted November 22, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Thank you for your honesty–I find your story and how you tell it to be very inspiring.

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Albert the Abstainer

posted November 27, 2008 at 6:17 am

Here is an irony, as a former Christian, that message still has resonance, but perhaps in a slightly different way.
So what precisely is the “seed” to a post-Christian? It is that which when planted in the fertile soil of a person grows into a life of compassionate action and appreciation. This supports and sustains when we remember it, when we are made naked, stripped of the inconsequential.
Rumi made this point in a number of his poems. (I will include an excerpt in a followup post.)

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Albert the Abstainer

posted November 27, 2008 at 11:55 pm

The translated Rumi excerpt that I mentioned in my previous message is shown below:
Borrow the Beloved’s eyes.
Look through them and you’ll see the Beloved’s face;
No tiredness, no jaded boredom.
“I shall be your eye and your hand and your loving.”
Let that happen, and things you hated will become helpers.
A certain preacher always prays long and with enthusiasm
for thieves and muggers that attack people on the street.
“Let your mercy, O Lord, cover their insolence.”
He doesn’t pray for the good, but only for the blatantly cruel.
Why is this? his congregation asks.
“Because they have done me such generous favours.
Every time I turn back toward the things they want, I run into them.
They beat me and leave me nearly dead in the road,
and I understand, again, that what they want is not what I want.
They keep me on the spiritual path.
That’s why I honour them and pray for them.”
Those things which return our attention to the Beloved, which strip away the layers of illusion, and return us to that naked state which alone allows us to directly apprehend, are the best friends, even as they arrive in the guise of hardships. This is a very difficult lesson to learn, and it is learned only through experience and practice.
The worst thing would be if we were to live forever. What value is given to that of which there is an infinite supply? It is precisely because our lives are of limited length, and because there is no guarantee that we will see the dawn, that life is appreciated fully; but we must remember this, and not become lost in the distractions. Live with intimate awareness of death’s proximity. Death is the friend who teaches the value of life, of this moment, and it restores us from the stresses of the inconsequential by directing our attention to the Presence which permeates life. Do not stand in terror as you approach the threshold, but with joyful anticipation of full immersion in the Beloved’s gaze wait as a bride awaits her groom to part the final veil.

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carol cooper

posted December 7, 2008 at 7:43 am

“The cross is a torture instrument. It stands for the most extreme suffering, limitation, and helplessness a human being can encounter. Then suddenly that human being surrenders, suffers willingly, consciously, expressed through the words “Not my will but Thy be done.” At that moment, the cross, the torture instrument shows its hidden face: it is also a sacred symbol, a symbol for the divine.” Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle

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Christian Jewelry

posted December 9, 2008 at 3:10 am

May the Lord bless you with a complete and speedy recovery!

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posted December 17, 2008 at 4:48 pm

i am praying for you’re spiritual, mental, and physical wholeness.

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Your Name

posted December 20, 2008 at 6:49 am

Thank you, David, for your honesty both in your blogs and your book, which after reading it made me see how your faith was growing even before confronting the tumor. You saw so much of how hypocritical “religious” and even believers in Christ can be, but you kept your eyes of Jesus. We will always be failed by ourselves or others but not our Saviour.
As I have fought metastatic cancer for the past beautiful and horrible four years, I continue to have my moments of wanting to “see the angels” too. Then just when I wonder if I can keep going through all the chemo side effects and good news/bad news diagnostic testing results, God sends me what I need to make it through that day or even hour. Tonight, it was your blog. I thought through moments when a family member or friend, a pastor, a beautiful piece of God’s creation or some music has encouraged me to take another step forward.
Thank you David for sharing your faith and life experiences, esp. the difficult ones. I pray that since you posted that you and your family have been sensing God’s love and will have a blessed Christmas.
I will be looking forward to your future blogs and books (thinking about it?) Merry Christmas and praying you have a wonderful coming new year.

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Christina Mize

posted December 20, 2008 at 6:57 am

Oops,sorry, new to posting on a blog site- I wrote the above post and wanted anyone reading to have a name to refer to.

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posted January 5, 2009 at 7:08 am

Best in the new year, Brer David.

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posted January 8, 2009 at 12:06 am

Yo, Kuo, where d’ja go?

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posted January 25, 2009 at 2:19 pm

As one who lives with a chronic illness (Juvenile Diabetes), I have come to realize what I see as a curse truly can be a gift from God.
I tell people it makes me “live life on purpose”.
I pray for a complete recovery from the cancer for you!

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Victoria Moran

posted April 16, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Oh, my goodness. I was visiting some Beliefnet blogs to get acquainted with them as a fairly new Beliefnet blogger myself. I didn’t realize that this one belonged to you, nor did I know that you were dealing with this health challenge. You write about it with such a sense of peace. Your faith really shows in your life. I saw this the first time a few years ago when I saw you on TV for the first time. I’m not an evangelical myself and I’ve had some frustration with a few people of this persuasion who’ve told me I’m not a Christian, etc., etc. Still, I know spirituality when I see it, and you have it in spades. I look forward to reading more of your work.

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posted June 9, 2009 at 10:10 pm

you should try alternative medicine. you as a christian should know that humans were created in the image of god, so if humans are constantly sick and need pharmaceuticals, wouldn’t that be saying God is weak?
natural medicine helps the body’s immune system defeat the cancer. the FDA and big pharma is as much corrupt as the neocons that destroyed America in the last 8 years.

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posted July 11, 2009 at 9:21 am

Zach ~ But then why can’t pharmaceuticals be considered alternative medicine too? You have bought into someone else’s definition of what falls into this category. Pharma products have been shown time after time to lengthen and improve life in many, many ways. If we took them away, many diseases would return and life expentancy would decrease. God also gave man a thinking brain and free will. Man has been very clever in the area of medicine, thanks to gifts from God!

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