Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Rabbi Rami Shapiro

Do not miss Rami Shapiro's blogs, "Happy Sukkot" (9/19/2013) and "The New Covenant" (10/20/2103) at www.rabbirami.blogspot.com


"Life is what happens while you are making other plans."

My birthday is on January 10. My brother's is on December 1.
This is why I remember the following experience.

Back when I was a pastor, one of my church members with cancer was dying in the hospital. Her daughter called me on December 1 and requested that I come to the hospital ASAP -- the Oncologist had just told the family that their mother could not last through the day. After standing vigil with the family for some time,
I told the daughter that I needed to leave, and explained that in my experience, it might be some time before death would occur.

Long story short, the daughter called me while I was having my birthday breakfast to inform me that her mother had died...40 days after the doctor's prediction!

My life's companion Janice and I were married in 1972, and decided to start a family in 1974. Instead of getting pregnant, in 1975,she was informed that she had myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disorder she has coped with since. Another long story short, she discovered she was pregnant in 1994--22 years later!
Our son Quincy was born that year on November 3--a joy unspeakable. And yet, his life almost ended at age 2, and he was diagnosed with Asperger's in 2009. Uncertainty is now an unavoidable daily companion, but his story is for another time.


I have written the above to preface my reaction to a report I just read in the quarterly newsletter of Hospice of Virginia (my last employer) concerning an article entitled "Uncertainty -- The Other Side of Prognosis" from the New England Journal of Medicine (6/27/2013.)

The article was quoted as follows: "In many respects, the primary communication task of clinicians is the management of uncertainty...By normalizing uncertainty and attending to the affective response to living in the face of an uncertain future, we may help our patients and their families enjoy the time they have now."

I love academic jargon!! (For those with Asperger's, that is sarcasm.)
That quote reminds me of an old beer commercial:
"You only go around once in life, so grab all the gusto you can."

As humans, there is only one certainty we all face: some day we will die.

How then do we live? That is a question that only our own spirituality can answer.
(To be continued...)