Archive for the ‘time’ category

Carpe Horam — Seize the Hour

July 21, 2012

It has been several months since I have completed a new post for this blog.  It has been during these months that I have been receiving my chemotherapy.  There is a direct correlation between my “silence” and my treatments.  While I am thankful that I have now completed eight of the twelve bi-weekly infusions, I have been challenged by the various “demands” which the infusions bring on my body.

My infusions are on Mondays at the Regional Oncology Center and take most of the day.  At the end of my infusion on their pump, I am hooked up to a portable pump, which continues to give me more of one chemo agent for forty-six hours.  Two days later that infusion ends and I am disconnected.  On that day, day three of my chemo cycle, I find that I usually am very fatigued, and need to take a couple of naps during the day.  The same is true on day four and day five (and sometimes day six) of my cycle.  Consequently, on five out of the fourteen days of my chemo cycle, I really can’t “count” on getting very much done.

This means that in each two-week cycle, I have nine out of fourteen days to get done whatever I need to do for work, home maintenance, etc.  But, on those remaining nine days, I can also have fatigue or some other chemo side effects that “sideline” me.  This is the primary reason why it has been a while since I have written another blog post.  I am much pressured to get done what is absolutely necessary each week during my good hours (preparing for speaking and preaching) and find that my writing is getting “squeezed out” in the process.

Although many people have heard the expression, “Seize the Day” (from the Latin: Carpe Diem), I find that the expression, “Seize the Hour,” is more fitting to describe what God is teaching me now.  I have come to realize that I can treat my “good” days very presumptuously.  That is, I’ve found myself thinking, “I can’t count on getting anything done on my first five days, but I can count on getting things accomplished on my nine good days.”  Upon reflecting on this thought, I have been convicted by James 4:13-16.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’– yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’  As it is, you boast in your arrogance.  All such boasting is evil.”

James 4:13-16 [ESV]

I have learned that I don’t know what tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, or the day after that, will bring.  In fact, even on my “good” days, I find that I can have a productive morning, but then be overwhelmed with fatigue in the afternoon and accomplish nothing.  Let alone tomorrow, I don’t even know what the rest of today will bring(!), and I must not be presumptuous that I will “do this or that.”  Instead, I find that only if the Lord wills, will I “do this or that.”  Which means that I can only count on “this hour.”  This is the hour which the Lord has given me.  I can use it wisely, or I can fritter it away.  But if I do “fritter it away,” I am acting presumptuously that the Lord will give me a later hour for that which I could or should do presently.  This has led me to try to remember to Carpe Horam, “Seize the Hour” — to do, in the present hour, as wisely as possible, what God would have me to do.

I understand that Horace, from whom the phrase, Carpe Diem, “Seize the Day,” is quoted, didn’t have the same perspective that I have.  In fact, he used it in a context to emphasize that since the future is uncertain, one should put a minimum of trust in the future, seize the day, and enjoy its pleasures.  Instead, I am being challenged to make the most of the present hour, for I cannot, without presumption, count on a later hour.

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GPS is Spinning

December 27, 2011

Last night we drove to Buffalo so that we would be in town for an 8:00 appointment at Roswell Park Cancer Institute this morning.  This morning, while driving between our hotel and the Institute, the GPS display started spinning, like it didn’t know where it was or where it was going.  We kept driving straight on, and eventually the GPS found its bearings again and led us to where we needed to go.   The outcome of today’s consultation at Roswell is that the doctor wants more information, that is, another blood test, another colonoscopy, and input from another specialist.  So, this afternoon I had the blood test, and tomorrow I have an appointment in Syracuse with the specialist on my (our) way back to Buffalo for colonoscopy #2 on Thursday.

Tonight my head is spinning, like the GPS was this morning.  All the things on my “to do” list that I had planned to do in this already busy week need to be reprioritized.  The things on the list are important to me, but I don’t think I’m going to get them all done, and it really bugs me.  There are tasks I really want to get done and crossed off my list, and tasks that I really need to do.   I even wonder if I’ll have a window of time to get these and other important tasks done before the doctors “check-me-in” in a week or two to get down to business with the colon cancer.

But then I am reminded that each day is a gift from God.  I will never know how many other people had plans and lists of things to do and then something happened, an accident, a diagnosis, a sudden death of a loved one, and then so many of those planned tasks seemed trivial and unimportant.  I am reminded of this thought from a prayer of Moses.

“So teach [me] to number [my] days, that [I] may apply [my] heart unto wisdom.”

Psalm 90:12

I need this reminder today, and I need it every day.