I have diabetes. That was the diagnosis this morning from my doctor as she called with results from my blood test. I don’t know what type of diabetes it is yet—I didn’t think to ask—but she hopes we can manage it through diet and exercise. Already I’ve got appointments with a nutritionist and a diabetes specialist.
This is wholly inconvenient right now because in just about a week Melanie will be heading into the hospital herself to give birth to our son, our fourth child. I just don’t have time for diabetes or any chronic illness.
So now I contemplate the life changes that are about to ensue on top of the massive changes a new baby brings anyway. Getting a decent meal on the table every night is a challenge under normal circumstances, for instance, but preparing a dinner fit for a diabetic diet is yet more complication. But we’ll manage. That’s what families do. We adapt and move on to the new normal.
Yet, this is also fortunate timing as well. Just as Melanie is about to head in for major surgery (her pregnancies require C-sections now), I have something to offer up on her behalf. While she lies on the operating table, restrained in a cruciform, suffering the twin agonies of having her insides mucked about by doctors as well as not being able to immediately hold her newborn son, I will now offer more than quiet reassurance and prayers. I can now offer up any sufferings from this ailment, everything from the small things like the foods I can no longer enjoy in any appreciable quantity, like ice cream or pasta, to the larger pains, like the no-doubt exhausting exercise regimen I’m going to have to fit in to a busy life, to whatever larger sacrifices and pains will eventually come from the disease that will be my companion from now on. Compared to her own sufferings on the operating table and after, these are small things, but I offer them nonetheless, just as I offer my comparatively insignificant sufferings up alongside those of my Savior who suffered Himself upon the Cross for our sins.
Likewise, it is fortuitous timing as well because Ash Wednesday is right around the corner. The fasting of Lent will have new meaning to me this year and I hope a more fruitful one than usual. Confronted by my own mortality, I contemplate the mortality of the God-Man who is Immortal and take comfort in the knowledge that whatever life presents in this world is not the sum total of existence.The God-who-suffers-with-us knows the troubles and pains that will confront us in this valley, even as He prepares a place for us on the mountaintop.
Maybe that’s all a little too flowery for this Tuesday night in February. Maybe I’m feeling a bit too dramatic and overwrought by being saddled with a disease borne not just with courage, but also aplomb by millions of Americans, most of whom will struggle much more mightily with it than I will.
But forgive a man for being a little introspective a half day after being confronted again with his own frailties and eventual mortality. Tomorrow, I hope to have a little more perspective, but tonight I will ponder and pray.