Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Seeing Beyond Current Medical Options

On Monday Mom called and told me Grandpa was in the hospital again because he wasn't eating. We were talking and she thought that he wouldn't do any better on a feeding tube, but half the family thinks he will. It was bothering me because I was discouraged; I thought he was getting better because he moved into a rehab place, but he is still struggling with appetite.

That led me to go on an early walk on Tuesday. I didn't get a ride to prayer, so I ended up walking around campus. I ended up sitting on a concrete ledge in front of the Yates building. I started praying about Grandpa and whining to God about how nothing seemed to be working. The song 'Indescribable' came into my head. I said, "Ok, God, since You're so amazing, You heal him." I said it rather sarcastically. Then I paused. Did I really think that He could heal Pa or was I trusting in the medical field for everything and forgetting that I had learned that Jesus identified as The Great Physician. (I had learned that on Monday.)

I thought of the story of the blind man and the story of the paralytic. The blind man was a beggar, but if he could afford it, I'm sure he went to the healers that had whatever medical knowledge or medical ideas they had at the time in 33AD. However, when he knew Jesus was there, he trusted in Him to heal his sight. He was trusting in something beyond the medical field. Same with the paralytic. He was at that pond where people went to get miraculously healed. It would be like someone today flying out to Johns Hopkins University Medical School to get treatment for something. That was the best thing out there at the time for him, but again, he reached beyond that for Jesus.

Could I do that now in this current medical climate? Or was I too wrapped up in the medical field giving me all the ansswers? Maybe it's harder today because the medical field seems like it does have all the answers. We have gene therapy, some stem cell therapy, insane amounts of pharmecuticals, advanced neuological imaging, laproscopic surgery... you name it, we have it or someone's thinking of it. Was I falling into that trap or could I reach beyond the medical world to the Great Physician?

I thought about physcicians themselves since I for so long was and still am wanting to follow in their footsteps. They say, "Take this or do this and then you'll be healed." I think a lot of them may think, "Take this or do this and then I would've healed you ." As I thought about it more, the medicial field revels in the glory of human achievement. To say you are a doctor says you achieved one of the most challenging things. To be pre - med is to build your life around one achievement after another and be able to look back on a string of things to say, "I did it. I got myself here." Not that trying is wrong, but it's the kind of pride that can make people forget that God gave them grace to do that (Deut 8). I realized my family and I, with our curent situation can have two options: Our decisions and the doctors we choose can make Pa better, or placing our trust in God and saying that He will guide the physicians that work with Pa and / or He can miraculously heal Pa if that is His will. Would we fall into the trap of what I like to call medical idealism or can we still have faith?

God reminded me of a memory I had about Pa that I don't think of that often. Pa is a devout Catholic who says the rosary every night. One day when I was 10, he told me how he prayed for God to heal my eyes and after my ear surgery, to heal my ears. I told him I appreciated it, but seceretly I was doubtful. How could God do it, when every physician I talked to said my eyes were massively messed up? I told Mom and she, being a nurse, blew off the idea as crazy. We didn't have the faith Pa did partially because we knew too much about 'what medicine really is. It was the use of chemicals and / or procedures done to alter one's anatomy / physiology to correct things damaged by disease or trauma. It wasn't saying a few prayers hoping the problem will go away.

But then I remembered reading stories out of Luke shortly after I became Christian. I read the story about Jesus healing a boy from epilepsy and a man from schizophrenia. I was blown away because of what I knew about those conditions. I knew they were very hard to treat even to this day and they could be caused by so many differetnt factors. To realize Jesus fixed people's brain biochemistry or possibly structural features just by speaking amazed me.

I saw how opposite those two memories were: I went from scoffing at true faith of Pa to being amazed at the power Jesus had to heal. What happened to that faith? Where was that awe I had when I first believed? Had I forgotten that God was powerful because Pa's current situation seemed discouraging? Possibly. Was it because I had prayed for so long last year about my uncle only to have his cancer come back? Maybe. But I had to remember God's ways were not my ways, and He chooses to do miracles when He wants to to bring glory to Himself.

Knowing that and recalling the faith Pa had, I prayed, this time in earnest for God, the Great Physician to heal Pa. I prayed that He would reveal Himself to my family so they wouldn't doubt His power anymore, and I prayed for Him to heal Pa so Pa could see that God answered the prayer of someone who had the kind of faith that he had modeled for so long.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Calm After The Storm

Yesterday and the day before were like night and day. Yesterday started off with me hanging out with my friend Tina :) We returned some of her shirts at Ross for somre more shirts. After that I went grocery shopping since our bus pulled into the CSU transit center five minutes before the one to King Soopers on Taft Hill left. I went to the store and bought 2 things of ICE CREAM! :) :) (and yes, I really like ice cream.) Waiting at the bus stop I met my new neighbor Gena (pronounced like Jenna.) She is Filippino like I am and a guest researcher in the Biology / Botany department. We just chilled out at her place for a while. Then I ate lunch.

In the evening, I went with Scott and Tan to go shopping (again) for a caserole we would all make. The casserole was definitely yummy!! We also played a little SuperMario Car (?) on Nintendo 64. Once I came in 5th place instead of 8th place hee hee!! After dinner we all watched Pirates of the Carribean.

That in itself would have been a really really good day :) but seeing as it was the day after I came really really close to ending it all, it made everything seem more precious.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

When (neuro)Chemicals attack

So,. last night was weird. I was way happy at The Rock becaus a) the music was cool and b) the message was cool. However, my happy bubble with the message bursted when our guest speaker started talking about how somking had its perks but caused cancer. He was making an analogy that sin was like that: had perks but was bad for your soul, so don't do it type thing, but my uncle got diagnosed with his final bout of cancer a year ago last week :( so that wasn't cool.

I was able to focus on the message, but I started to be sensitive to more things that brought me down. Such as when the pastor talked about how people in heaven could possibly see us and those we know up there would be rooting for us, I thought, "I seriously don't know anyoner personally that's gone up to heaven." Maybe my uncle did. maybe but I'm not sure. I also realized that some people in heaven have probably seen me spill my guts about this sin problem involving me and this other person. Knowing that Chrisitians that knew that other person knew all the crap going on between me and that other person made me cringe. I had this idea that "What happens on earth... stays on earth." mentality about Heaven. Like we'd sorta remember stuff pertaining to God and our salvation and stuff but yeah. Maybe we'll see it as not being a problem or it won't bother us anymore or something but it was weird to think about.

So I guess I was starting to slide down into depression, but like all the times this happens, I don't realize this until I hit rock bottom. Other little things happened to contribute to the familiar downward spiral. There were some biochemical / endocrine factors at work, bust most of it was enviornmental factors such as: I just didn't want to hang out with the summer D - Team and when I got home the neighbors wanted to do stuff and they invited me but they were biking over and I needed a ride so I couldn't do anything with them. I was feeling useless, worthless, and just didn't feel like I was much of anything. I've messed up too much here on earth and people I didn't even know and couldn't see knew about it, memories of my uncle and how he got sick were bothering me again, I felt useless since I didn't have the connection to the D - Team that everyone else did since I was new, and I felt worthless because I couldn't do anything with anyone because transportation hindered it. I just heard this great talk about heaven and how it was like this world minus the sin and it would be perfect. So we brought our memories about earth with us. But maybe in the presence of God even the bad ones wouldn't get us down. I was thinking about the usual routes I thought of to get myself there wether God was calling me or not. I was Chrisitan so if I showed up on God's doorstep a litle unexpectedly, He would still welcome me in. I sat down at my computer to think or maybe start a note, but I thought, "Wait - what would I say in my note...."

When God intervenes

Suddenly I had this strong impulse to leave the apartment, almost like an invisible something inside my head was commanding me to leave. I immediately recognized it as God telling me to get out of the apartment partially so I wouldn't have access to the stuff I would require to make my escape from this world. God also gave the the idea that I would walk down Laurel to Lemay and eventually to Poudre Valley Hospital (PVH). That made sense in light of the fact that it was a safe place to go and if someone thought I needed to stay there longer, that option would be there. However, I left the apartment so fast I only had my coat and keys. No wallet, no insurance card. I figured that if God really wanted me at PVH, He would provide a way for me to get care. As I walked down Laurel, I started to bring what was going on to God. I started to feel a little better. Suddenly it dawned on me that Scott had told me that Colin and some other guys were living on Laurel. That was also a viable solution. I could go to Colin and co.'s house and talk to Colin. He was a fellow pre - med and I could tell him what had happened with my state of mind. Then he could probably help me figure out if I still needed to go to PVH or not.

Soon after I crossed College Ave, I met a lady who was also out walking. She asked me what I was doing out so late, and I told her that I was going to a friend's house. She asked me if I knew where it was and I gave her the number. We looked for it, but couldn't find the house. She asked me how far I was away from my house and I told her that I wasn't very far. She told me that I should probably be getting home.

I realized that God had sent her as kind of my 'turn around' marker. I had walked around during the time I was most vulnerable and the walking and thinking about how I was going to get out of the situation kept me from ruminating on all the bad stuff that happened in the evening. In a way, God was keeping me safe in his own way.

I went home and my friend was caling me just as I walked in the door. She asked me if I wanted to go shopping tomorrow (which by the way is now today :) I told her I would. As I hung up, I realized that I had a goal and a motivation for getting up the next morning.

As I went to bed, I realized that God had an intervention plan all this time for me. I was so glad I heeded his urging for me to leave before I did something rash. God is soveriegn and God is stable even when my own nervous system isn't.

"Be at rest, Oh my soul. For the Lord has been good. Be at rest. Once more." - from the song we sang at The Rock.

Friday, June 24, 2005

This is only a test...

This is a test to see where your heart lies... repeat, this is only a test

Sometimes God asks us either / or questions to reveal to us where our heart lies.

Today God asked me this question,"If you could only pick one, would you get married or go to medical school?" I thought, "WHAT???? Do you mean I have to pick between the two?" He said, "For this question's sake, yes." Grrrrrrrr... I really really want both."

Thinking... thinking... still thinking....


Then I thought about it harder. Medical school is something that I want. Getting married means I get someone that I want. God told me that all my life that I've been seeking after somethings because I thought that I was not good enough for or not wanted enough to seek after a someone. Then I said, "Hey, God, You're that Someone I've been wanting!" Cool. Got that taken care of! Now I have my answer: I want to go to medical school :)" ha ha! I outsmarted God!

"Ok, that's true. You can lean on and trust Me to be that Someone regardless of your state on earth. But if you could ask me for one thing: medical school or marriage and you were sure I'd give it to you, what would you ask for?"

Hmmm... Crap. Didn't outsmart God. I knew what He was getting at. He was getting at what my heart longed for. He knew where all my fantasies went (good and bad) and He was trying to help me unpack it. But I didn't like thinking in either / or terms. Medical school was something I wanted ever since I was in 10th grade. I liked science. I liked biology the most. I liked figuring out problems. I liked helping people. Medical school would let me use all that. But what else did I seek when I became a doctor? People needed me. Society always needs doctors, right? and they hardly ever get laid off. So they have high mal - practice insurance and some may have to do surgery at 3:00am on Christmas Eve, but everyone needs doctors. And everyone at least respects doctors - ok, most people do. According to Mom, she made it seem like all the other people in the health professions (especially the nurses) got stepped on all the time. I didn't want that. I wanted to be in a position where if I didn't like what was going on, I'd be in a position to change it. And I wanted significance. Everyone knows what a doctor is and what he or she does. And everyone would know I was pretty smart.


So was I wanting praise of men? At least that's what that last paragraph seemed to say. God likes things done in secret and not showy (mt 6:1 - 18) for people to see. He would much prefer us doing stuff that's just between Him and us. Of course if guys like Rick Warren and Oswald Chambers go public, it's good if that's God's will, but their heart has to remain as if they were just doing whatever they do to please God and not men. So, do I want to go to medical school just for the kicks of having all the presige and power and significance? No. I want to go to medical school because it's the way to help people using the maximum capacity of my grey matter. Do I really want to help people? Yeah.

What if I didn't go to medical school? I could do something else career wise (what, I don't know.). But what if gasp God didn't want me to have a career. "c'mon, God! I have to! At least for a litle bit. You ever heard of STUDENT LOANS?"
Yes, God knows about those. Of course He knows about those. Then what is He getting at?

He's getting at this: What was the most important thing that I absolutely won't budge on even if He was trying to take it away? I care about getting married and going to medical school, but obviously right now I care about going to medical school and having some sort of a career more. Are they mutually exclusive? No. But is one harder to give up to God if He were to take it away? Yeah. Even if He was replacing it with another desire of my heart. Yeah.

So what to do? I don't know. Pray? Sure. But seriously, I know this isn't something I'm going to wake up and know the answer to. But I'm grateful that God really got down there and was able to break through everything to see what still had a hold on my heart.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Random Thoughts For Today

1. I'm getting better at this HTML stuff. Feel like even more of a nerd, but oh well.
2. I'm writing this DNA paper. It's like a brief overview of how DNA couldn't have just happened. I hope it's not ridiculously oversimplified for... certain possible readers...
3. My attention span in the summer shortans to a all time low.
4. Except for quiet times.
5. When I do have quiet times.
6. Which I haven't had one yet today...
7. Ok... well then, better go!
9. I am finally doing my laundry! YAY!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

More of an explanation about the title (because, you know, you always have to have more of an explanation)

So, in our spiritual lives, we are in a constant process of breaking down and building up. Under optimal conditions, we are breaking down our flesh and building up our faith. Sometimes though, we are in undesirable conditions. Our flesh can build back up, or our faith can start breaking down. The worst case scenerio is when both undesirable conditions are happening at once.

The reason we are in equilibrium is because our flesh doesn't totally go away. That's because of The Fall of Creation :-/ We can hope that we continue in our spiritual growth and the flesh continues to be broken down so we grow in faith. That's where we need God's help. Because we can't maintain this equilibrium alone....