You have kindly inundated me with “how do you feel?” requests this past week. Several of you men have also shown up in your swimsuits with goggles and flippers in hand, hoping for a dip in my “testosterone pool.” Yes, I was the one shooting at you from the window.
So how do I feel? After 10 days on Bipolar Androgen Therapy (BAT), I feel like a man who has been held captive in a dark prison who has just been rescued and brought out into the sunlight for the first time in almost three years.
You want descriptors? I feel GOOD again. I feel solid. I feel masculine. I feel alive. I feel clear-minded. I feel invigorated. My bone pain is even diminished.
Plus, my MacBook Pro is running like it just came out of the box.
An important note: I’m told that what I am experiencing is only the side affects of having testosterone in my body for the first time in almost three years. As if I care.
We don’t even know if this crazy therapy is effective against my cancer yet. It’s just too early to tell. But, hey, let’s not miss this moment by not being fully alive to it!
At the core of who I am as a man made in God’s image, something essential is being restored to me. This is nothing short of GLORY.
“The glory of God is man fully alive.”
– St. Irenaeus
While I bask in this reprieve, it seems a good time to remind ourselves of our current reality in this world. At its essence, here is the lesson:
“The Lord giveth,
the Lord taketh away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
– Job 1:21b
The gift I have been given in my health chaos is profound:
I have been made acutely aware of both the glory and grief of life.
- Life is an incredible gift – waking up this morning was a really big deal for you and for me today.
- Nothing is to be taken for granted – remember, everything we have in this world will eventually be uprooted and removed from us.
- Let’s not freak out when this happens – the pain we will experience is vitally instructive.
My losses over the past three years may be earlier and different than yours, but yours are coming, if they haven’t already arrived. I just got put at the front of the line for some reason. We are all on the same train, folks.
Today, you may be the picture of health (and I truly hope you are), but as the saying goes, “On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”
But here is what I’ve learned (again) this week:
The worst things are never the last things.
Loss threatens to capture our hearts, declaring itself to be the final reality. Not true, says the Psalmist:
“My health may fail, and my spirit grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever”
– Psalm 73:26
There is simply too much glory and God in this world to surrender to grief.
Just about the time I’m ready to give myself over to despair as my greatest reality, it’s as if God reaches down, picks me up, smiles at me, and opens my eyes yet again to this amazing story He is telling with all of our lives.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
– Jesus, John 16:33
In Thornton Wilder’s, Our Town, a young girl, Emily, has died and is thinking about the people of earth as they are living their lives, unable to see the glory inherent in them.
Emily: “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?”
Narrator: “No. Saints and poets maybe…they do some.”
In the play, Emily goes back to earth for one day. How does she decide which day to return? She is offered this guidance:
“Choose the least important day in your life. It will be important enough.”
Our “ordinary” days, apparently are nothing of the sort. There is glory in all of them – and in each of us.
Christ has seen to it. It is one of his gifts for us to receive.
Oh, and if you need further proof of glory:
I’m ten days into my high testosterone therapy for my prostate cancer when suddenly this woman shows up in my living room claiming to be my wife.