…and so ended that version of Phil Davies.

Exactly one year ago today, Saturday, I had that MRI scan, that answered a lot of questions, but stirred up many, many more:

Phil's brain, top view, reversed (MRI image)

Phil's brain, top view, reversed (MRI image)

Here’s the long version of the story, if you’ve got nothing better to do on a beautiful July weekend: https://felipebeach.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/an-ordeal-to-remember-in-review/

I’m not going to pretend to be particularly poignant or eloquent as I write this way past when I was hoping to be in bed.  However, this dubious milestone just occurred to me the other day, leading me to some thinking…

How has this ordeal changed me?

— Hard to say; I don’t think we ever really know how much we change until long after the environment that produced said change.  I’ll let you know about this one in a few years.  In the short term, I know a few bothersome physical/mental effects linger.  Way too many magazine ink smudges on my sweaty hands in waiting rooms.  Tons of faith growth.  Much reflection on how things around me would be different if I just up and died.  A completely new appreciation of the real power of prayer (not just as a ceremonial thing, but something God actually hears and acts on.  I still don’t get it; I just appreciate it more now).

I recently remembered a long-neglected verse of Scripture I’ve called upon many times in the past:

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12) 

Seems like a good strategy to me…

How has this ordeal changed others?

— Another one that’s hard to say.  I know people have told me how they’ve been affected by my optimism (which, sorry to let you down, is largely delusion).  I hope many of you have been able to see God doing things in my life, or your own, through the very act of rallying behind someone.  Even more, I hope others have seen God as a real thing, not just a cool little story we tell ourselves to sleep better at night.

Have I made the most of this opportunity?

— That’s the big question I ask now, nearing what I hope to be the temporary end of this journey (not counting the several years of checkups and scans that await me).  You may ask, “Opportunity?”  Definitely.  See, very few people get something that so clearly identifies itself as a defining challenge, from which they know they have a rare opportunity to grow, and to impact others.  I am incredibly thankful for having had such an opportunity, and know I can only benefit from this.  Assuming that nasty little tumor doesn’t come back, that is.  But you know what?  Even if it does, I’ve seen this work once, and will be ready to do it again.

Is it time just to shut up about it already?

— Probably.  For tonight, definitely.  Thanks again for all your encouragement, support, prayer, all that; it sounds like a cliche, but there really are times when folks in my situation just don’t think they can handle one more piece of bad news, until we remember all the people behind us who (literally and figuratively) carry us along in our weak moments.  Then it seems pretty easy to handle.