Health Update: As I briefly mentioned last time, I’ve begun the latest chemo treatment we’re gonna throw at this belligerent glioblastoma.  Initially, the harsh side effects I was expecting/dreading/warned about never materialized.  In the subsequent weeks, this has  remained the case, although my energy levels are pretty low, and a short walk becomes a long walk quickly (although my cane rarely joins me on short trips anymore, surprising people who’ve had to almost carry me around in the recent past).  All told, I’m feeling great, and am feeling your prayers for strength.  I know the
bulk of those are for healing, too, but am not going to tell God how He’s going to let this story play out…but my next scan in mid-Aug. might give a better indication of the short term plot direction.  In the meantime, there’s way too much summer left to worry about things like that, and all I can do is be thankful for a functioning mind and body during a time when I was fully expecting to have neither.

 When this piece was originally drafted,
a month or two ago, before it became misplaced, looked like my physical abilities were on a rapid decline for good, prompting a sharp wake-up that I’d be highly dependent on others in order to maintain my independence, in the subsequent weeks, my condition has improved significantly (be it by a temporary pharmaceutical boost, or the mini-miracle that it is for me to be up and around just weeks after not being able to take two steps out of bed – either way, lots of prayer has been on display here…).  In short, a new reality looked like it was taking shape, whether I was ready for it or not.

As such, I drafted this piece about my musings on this new unique platform for good.  I then subsequently did what happens with too many writing projects that aren’t completed right away (in this case, because my digital pen conked out on me), and set it aside or under something or wherever things go to avoid being found.  When it finally resurfaced, my condition & needs had drastically changed, but these thoughts still reflected a period of my life I don’t want to just have blown off.  So, I tried to update those original thoughts relative to my current situation, but found both my motivation & context for this creative venture had completely changed; I then tried to blend the mindset of these two different versions of me.  Like all compromises in creativity, the end result fell somewhere between flat and uninteresting, so I’m instead giving you a little time capsule, back to that first writing.

The Gift of Take

In Evangelical Christianity we subscribe to the notion that upon salvation, the Holy Spirit bestows upon each of us certain areas of gifting; not so much talents, like singing or other skills, but rather areas in which it is clear the Spirit is working by  mroducing results that are greater than a sum of their parts.  (For example: a gifted  teacher can dissect and explain Scriptural truth in ways that prompt deeper  understandings than could otherwise be explained.)

In my case, although circumstances and communities have changed over the years, along with my own maturity level (let’s not say which direction that’s shifted at which times), I’ve often found small encouragements to have profound impacts on people’s lives and have found that my writing connects with them in ways this scatter brained former geology major can explain.

My church revisited this topic recently by way of a study of 1 Corinthians.  This study  prompted me to consider what situations God has called me to serve in lately.   A  broad, open-ended topic to be sure, as different faith traditions hold different definitions of just what qualifies as a “gift,” and whether or not these things actually even exist after their manifestations in the New Testament.  One of those big topics made more &  more asinine the more big words that are used to fine tune it.

It quickly occurred to me that whereas at one time my greatest delight was to serve others, and to do so quietly with minimal fanfare, all I do lately is receive kindness and gifts from others; or if you will, I take

Upon further reflection, prayer and conversation, it became apparent that one of the most profound gifts one can manifest is the gift of take; or finding ways to receive  ssistance in ways that enables others to be blessed through their acts of service,  ncouragements and overall care.

So, I suggest to you that my greatest challenge in this whole wacky adventure of mine has been the development of my gift of take.  However, I must confess that this becomes a challenge as the burden of wanting to graciously honor these overtures of service while not spreading one’s energies too thin away from self- preservation.

As I vented to two family members who had just finished a major organization effort
of the chaos that was my past year of unprocessed paperwork (which left me unsure of where anything was anymore):

“I’m tired of having to take care of all the people who are trying to
take care of me!”

 (As I mentioned, my energies are far less depleted these days, significantly slowing down my opportunities to take, but leaving me no less compelled to exercise MY gift, circumstantial as it may be, for the purpose of giving others the chance to use THEIRS’)

Still, the opportunity to give back to those who have helped shoulder this burden of mine is not one I wish to squander.  So, please, place any appearance of dismissal of your kindness under an umbrella of grace; and please recognize if your efforts to help might in fact not be helping.

Otherwise, thank you for the opportunity to exercise my gift of take (which, if a problem, is not a bad problem to have).