How am I now to live?
I admit to being puzzled over what exactly I’m to do now that I’m back semi-officially into a period of remission. While I could relapse at any time, which would take nothing more than the discovery of another subcutaneous met or two, I also might be into a longer stretch of time during which I show no evidence of disease.
kairos time, instead of chronos. I highly recommend this “fullness of time” approach to life, although it’s sadly impractical for anyone who actually expects to hold a job.
So I dither over the trip to the U.K. Since I have an appointment with my oncologist on the 18th, I’ve deferred a decision until then. If he thinks I’m a lunatic for spending $1300 for a plane ticket I might never use, then I’ll probably proceed with the plan. If, on the other hand, he says I should go, then I’ll need to think it over. To say that I don’t always trust the judgment of my doctors is an understatement. Still, I want to hear what he has to say. There's at least a chance I might learn something.
I’m also weighing the offer of a half-time teaching job that would run through the next academic year. Taking on a commitment that would last until at least June 2011 could be construed as the victory of blind hope over reason, or possibly the best thing I could do. Either way, it would certainly jerk me out of this mellow kairos time warp I’ve been enjoying.
What I face is a version of the proverbial question, “What would you do if you knew you only had 18 months to live?” Before you jump to conclusions about what you think I should do, ask yourself what you would do. Take that trip to Europe with your son or daughter or friend, and work hard at the job you love (or hate) until the day you drop—or take time to not only smell the roses, but plant, prune, water and fertilize them? A garden is a great place to be when you’re not wearing a watch.
I don’t have an answer—yet. And if I don’t have an answer, then I suspect you don’t either. What I do know is that I want to live with the end in sight. I don’t mean that morbidly, but holistically. It’s every bit as foolish to live as if you’re going to live forever as it is to become paralyzed by fear of death. I like the idea of living with a clear recollection of where I’ve been, an appreciation for where I am at the moment, and at least a notion of what I want to do before my life is over. I will err on the side of being a rosarian.
So regardless of the time I have, I sense that it will be all the time I need. I trust that the seemingly big decisions I have before me will sort themselves out in the best possible way in the fullness of time.