Friday, October 28, 2011

Weird Halloween...

I must confess a really weird thing about me...I have this little ongoing internal struggle about Halloween. It’s not a big deal. I certainly haven’t said anything about it to many others—definitely not publicly. I really don’t have an axe to grind with Halloween. I don’t think less of anyone who dresses like a zombie, witch, ghost, or Freddy Kruger. It’s just this little internal struggle. Perhaps it is because of all the trouble I got into as a teenager on October 31. Perhaps it is the fact that it’s the only holiday (“holy-day”) that has no national or Christian significance (there is debate on this: some say it has some Christian meaning and is harmless, some say it possibly even glorifies some anti-Christian ideas??). I’m really not sure what it is.

What I do know is that my kids think I’m weird. And some of the few others that know my struggle think I’m weird.

Add to this my weird affection for history. October 31 just happens to be the day that Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation by nailing his 99 objections to the practices of the Roman Catholic Church to the big front door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517. He did this intentionally on “All Hallows Eve” (i.e. the day before All Saints Day, which is celebrated by Roman Catholics on November 1). Since Constantine became a Christian in 512 AD, it’s the biggest event in Christian history—perhaps even the history of the world! So (this is sooo weird), I try to get my family together to watch my favorite movie, Luther (2003), which tells the story!

This year, there’s another opportunity on Monday, October 31. No, not a Christian substitute “Trunk-or-Treat,” “Judgment House,” or “Fall Festival.” At noon that day, a group of Christians from Protestant churches all over Knoxville are meeting to silently pray for awakening. The Protestant Reformation was a long-needed awakening of true Christianity and millions were saved as God’s word was unleashed in Europe, effectively ending the dark ages of the medieval period. We need another awakening. You can come and pray, too! This time it will be at Cedar Springs Presbyterian’s old sanctuary (they call it their chapel). What a weird way to spend lunch on Halloween Day!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

My Old Body

We all grow old. Someone once joked, “I like growing old better than the alternative!” I’m not so sure. I’m just 44 but I’m running out of expendable organs! I lost my appendix a few years ago, now I might be losing my gallbladder.

Tuesday night I awakened with strong stomach pain and hugged the bowl from 1:30-4:30am. I just figured it was something I ate that wasn’t sitting right (we ate at a Mexican place for staff lunch that day). I had no fever and felt otherwise fine so I didn’t think it was a virus. My stomach continued to bother me—so much so that I couldn’t concentrate on my work. I tried to eat something for lunch. Big mistake! I became violently sick from 3:00 to 6:00pm with extreme stomach pain. I didn’t eat anything after that for the rest of the day because I was feeling so queasy. Thursday morning I felt a little better. I ate a little cereal and felt shaky again but was ok. I didn’t eat anything the rest of the day and had a great night’s sleep. Friday I woke up feeling great, I drank some milk and was fine. Then I totally did something stupid. Thinking my “sickness” was over I had two pieces of pizza. One hour later I was experiencing MAJOR pain in the top center of my stomach. It went on for hours. By 5:00pm, I was hurting so bad Darla called the doctor. They said to go to the ER. On the way, I was near passing out from pain. After hooking up the I.V. and getting some pain meds, they did some tests, including ultrasound, finding polyps in my gallbladder. I went home and the pain meds wore off—it’s been hurting a little since. I get more tests on Monday, and may have to have it removed. Since then I’ve been walking softly, drinking only water and eating hardly anything (and nothing fatty).

It’s been a rough ride since turning 40! In addition to appendicitis, I’ve had back surgery, and had to wear glasses for the first time in my life! It’s really kind of funny, and I’m thankful that it hasn’t been worse (as others have unfortunately experienced!). But it’s another reminder of the frailty and finite nature of our earthly bodies. It reminds me not to love this world. It makes me look forward to heaven! It makes me thankful for Darla (who's been really great).