Hi everyone,

Well I haven’t posted since last month. Sorry about that but I’ve been dug deep into finishing my book. I’m finally finished with my third draft and now it goes to a copy editor to help with the final polishing… you know, plot, grammar, spelling, etc. It feels kind of like handing a paper into my teacher and hoping there won’t be too much red ink on it when I get it back.

Anyway I haven’t forgotten you. You’d think I could have taken time to write a couple of small posts but I’m afraid my head gets hyper-focused sometimes.

I’m hoping to be a bit better balanced while writing my next one.

As some of you may know, my views on the existence of God are somewhat nebulous. I can get a bit negative, especially when I struggle with tragedy (see my “Kay” post).

But there is another side of my coin.

Back in 2009 I read a book called Miracles by Olen R. Brown. I later wrote a review of the book on Blogger News Network.

Unlike many modern scientists, Dr. Brown sees no conflict in faith and science. He believes that miracles are the glue that bind the two together. In fact, he finds miracles in every scientific discovery. He is uniquely qualified to speak on this subject; he is both a scientist and a Christian.

Dr. Brown is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and a retired professor at the University of Missouri. He has held joint professorships including in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology of the School of Medicine and in the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center of the Graduate School. He has authored more than 100 scientific publications and is a life science consultant.

I’ve recently looked at his book again. It is hard to argue against his insistence that if you don’t have faith in a Creator then you must have faith in chance. And through detailed descriptions of everything from the oxygen molecule to the integrated interplay of cells, he shows how pure chance is an impossibly no matter how much time you give it.

I still waffle, but this book definitely challenges one to reconsider his stand on the existence of God.

I highly recommend the read. You can find his book at Amazon.com.

I’d like to write a bit about my last post. Some would, I suppose, consider it dark humor… making jokes about dying from leukemia.

We all have different ways of facing our possible demise, whether or not it is via leukemia. For some, especially those who have the acute forms of leukemia (I don’t – I have the more docile CLL type), my humor might seem inappropriate. But, for me, whatever my future holds, I choose joy over sadness.

In my past, before Leuk showed up, I dealt with depression. Its a hard thing to climb back out of. Life hit me a bit hard back then and, even though I was physically healthy, it dug me a deep hole. Well, I don’t intend to let Leuk pull me back in.

To borrow a quote from Stubbs, the second mate of the Pequod in Herman Melville‘s book Moby Dick:

I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.

Back in college, a roommate of mine had a poster of a cat furiously flying through the air, fangs bared and saliva splashing from his mouth as he is about to pounce on a mouse. The mouse, instead of showing fear, is defiantly giving the cat the finger.

I think that’s a perfect image of how we should react to Leuk. He may kill our bodies, but its up to us whether he kills our spirit.

So stand your ground, give Leuk the finger, and laugh.

My wife told me I was brave. But I don’t believe dealing with Leuk is bravery. To me, bravery is when someone knowingly puts himself in jeopardy for the sake of someone else, or for a greater cause. Even though they are afraid, they jump in the water to save a life, or pick up arms to save a country.

I didn’t choose leukemia. No brave decision was made. One day Leuk just showed up at my door – unannounced I might add!

My brother is a brave man. Although he and I may see the wars in Iraq and Afganistan diffently, I am very proud of him. He’s been over there twice and may be going back a third time. He risks his life for his country.

My father was a brave man. He served in WWII and was in German prison camps (mainly Stalag 17B) for over 2 years. We’ve been told by some who were there that, despite hunger and disease, it was his sense of humor that kept them going.

My son is a brave man. He is a fireman (the PC folks call it a firefighter now). As a peramedic and firefighter his job is to try and save lives. It might be treating the victim of a shooting, or pulling someone out of a fire, or handling a person with an infectius disease. He and his team often risk death or injury.

Living with Leuk does, however, involve overcoming fear.

Fear is a natural response. Its built into us as a protective mechanism. It triggers our fight-or-flight response:  “Oh, crap, saber-tooth tiger going to eat me! Run!”

I believe Fear can be sidestepped with Purpose. In my last post I mentioned Victor Frankel, a psychologist who survived a Nazi concentration camp. Many men died of starvation, disease and worse. But he observed those who did survive; the ones who never gave up. They were the men who had a reason for living. A determined mission, a purpose that kept them going.

Leuk has a sister named Fear. Combined they are formidable. But Purpose and Meaning are strong allies. Many times they win the battle against Leuk, sometimes not. But they always defeat Fear.

So what gives you purpose and meaning in your life? I gain meaning from my family. I am a husband, father, grandfather, and brother. I also find purpose in my work.

Beyond all that, you can alleviate fear and avoid depression by helping others. It would be easy to sit down, have a real pity party, and say ‘hey, I’ve got leukemia I’m the one that needs help!’ But the truth is, if you think more about helping someone else, you will feel better about yourself.

Leuk is a tenasious bully. He doesn’t just attack your heath. If you let him, he will attack your spirit. So get involved more with your family, volunteer at church, visit the lonely at nursing homes. Whatever you find enjoyable, do it! By spending more time outside of yourself, you will quiet the fear that lurks within.

When Leuk first arrived I had an oddly neutral reaction. My doctor told me I had CLL and my response was: “Well, the odds of getting it were slim, so I guess I beat the odds. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.”

Later, the anger came. Not just because of Leuk. It was a whole package of things. My dad had died of lung cancer. I was in debt. My mother died after a long stressful time of caring for her. We were living with my daughter and son-in-law so we could rent out our house to help pay bills.

I’d pretty much had it and I let God know it. I was mad. I decided I didn’t believe in Him and yet I swore and yelled at Him. I might have handled the leukemia without the anger, but the whole package was too much. I’d already had it with God because of the way my dad died; lung cancer is a hell of a way to go.

Although I continue to struggle with whether God is real or not, I still spell His name with capital letters; so, I guess I’m not completely lost!

I must admit, I’m still angry with Him though over the way He allowed my dad to die. But, except for an occasional WTF (this is a PG site, so that stands for “What The Fooey”) I’m strangely at peace with Leuk.

My biggest concern isn’t my possible early demise. I mostly worry I might leave my wife in debt. I have a plan to be out of debt soon. Maybe I’ll make time to freak out about Leuk when we are debt free.

For now I’m wrapped up in work and family. I have purpose. If you want a good read, pick up Viktor Frankl‘s book Man’s Search for Meaning. His main point is Man only survives hardship if he has a purpose for living. Having a reason, a purpose, gives me a sense of completeness. I know who I am and why I am.

It helps.