Suddenly, unexpectedly, it’s time to depart on the next round of hospital tests, this time in Melbourne.
This is the third such trip I have made. Like the ‘Three Peaks’ bush walk we used to attempt in the Blue Mountains as kids, each trip presents a more challenging mountain to climb.
It’s a day if firsts! It’s the first time Bugger and I have flown together. The first time we’ve been pushed along by someone I don’t know. The first time I’ve been up in one of those dinky little hoists instead of climbing the aircraft steps. The first time I’ve wheeled into a disabled toilet. And the first time I’ve wheeled into a disabled toilet already occupied by an elderly lady who evidently couldn’t master the electronic door closer. Not cool! None of these milestones gives me much joy; quite the opposite. But the warmth and helpfulness of the people I have met on the way is moving indeed. Including Mrs Kafoops in the loo. It’s almost worth tasting the challenges of disability just to savour the ‘milk of human kindness’ that seems to be evident in everyone I meet.
Over the last year or so my Favourite Wife and I have come into the habit of beginning each day at the Lord’s Table, or Communion, or whatever you like to call it. It’s always been my job to bring Karen a morning cup of tea, and now we add bread and red wine to the tray. It’s a marvelous ritual: clarifying and simplifying both life and prayer. It’s an opportunity for submission to God’s will that can lead to a sense of profound contentment. Yesterday we read from Luke 5, “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. These two small words, Leave & Follow, captured for us the simple rhythm of a life of faith. I am so tempted to cling to aspects of the past – both good and bad – but life is lived in the present and the promise is always for the future. ‘Leaving’ is a daily and momentary experience that helps me understand the ephemeral nature of my journey. I learned at school that every 7 years our entire cellular structure is replaced (I wonder if that’s true?) We are literally leaving ourselves behind. But leaving is inadequate without a destination. I am being drawn forward, and I follow the call. I am grateful for what lies behind, but I press on towards all that lies ahead.
The challenges of this third trip are not merely physical. The longer I travel without a diagnosis, the more sober the doctors become. But more on that topic some other time; today I am very content just to leave, and to follow.
(This is a ‘blog on the run’, typed on my phone at Melbourne airport sans spell-check!)