This week marked the tenth year anniversary of my leaving the hospital after a 40-day stay that saved my life. I remember sitting in that hospital bed and thinking I'd never see ten years from then. And yet here I am. So many great things that happened as a result of walking out of there in mostly one piece.
I returned to my first choice of career, filmmaking / video production. I saw my oldest son marry his now, wife...and their addition of my first grandchild. So many other amazing things. Who would have thought that guy with a partial pancreas and one kidney, among other damaged organs, would go on to self-produce and publish a documentary that would air on PBS and win festival awards. Or watch his youngest kids who were five, ten years ago, enter high school... surely not me.
Those doubts that dog-pile us at our worst are hard to even remember when things are going well. But it's that suffering that makes it worth something. It's the pain and the eventual emergence from pain, that makes the good life even better. I have - as do we all - much to be grateful for.
Ten years ago, lent was only beginning right about now. I decided I'd lived through my wilderness of 40 days, so I took a pass in 2006. It's the same idea though. At least on one level, we withhold what we crave in order to put our bodies in that state of suffering, even if on a nominal scale, in order to make the Easter resurrection mean something more than an intellectual fact.
These days I read news stories about this or that celebrity that passes on. Some notable person that has lived the sum total of his or her days. Makes me think. And I'm reminded that it may not have been so for any of us - so far. Somehow we've all who are alive, survived this life up to now. And with it some suffering. Some joys. Some thrills. Some mundane. Some of this, some of that. The good news is we have a lot to be thankful for. Ten years ago, what were you thinking about? What will you remember in another ten, God willing you have them? Maybe make a note of it, mark it down somewhere.
While it's no hope of mine that anyone should suffer a crushing blow from a log in ice cold water, there is something that happens when there's an historical Big Thing that causes you to reflect. And maybe that's another reason for Easter. After all, it doesn't get much bigger than God risking His son to redeem all of mankind. I didn't die from torture, as our Lord did... may that cause us to stop long enough to think, "things are pretty good compared to death on a cross..." Anyway, here's to lent. 40 days may be ten good years depending on how you look at it.