Can you remember the anticipation of Christmas Eve when you were a child, or perhaps the joy and satisfaction of going to bed on Christmas night filled with contentment over all the gifts you received that day? I count myself fortunate to have lived in a middle class family where Christmas evening brought us just about everything we wished for each December 24th. It was hard falling asleep both Christmas Eve and then Christmas night in anticipation of what was to come and in complete joy in having received everything you expected. My mother and father were extremely good to us, both in listening to what we wanted and then making sure we received it.
I’ve not had the feeling in a long time. Last Friday evening the call I received at 6:45 PM from the University of Iowa clinics nurse Sue rivaled it. Here comments to me about the results of my 11th bone marrow biopsy absolutely filled my soul with joy. She said my bone marrow looked “absolutely beautiful” with no signs of leukemia present.
There was no reason for me to anticipate anything different from the results. Yet the way Sue put it “absolutely beautiful” immediately brought tears to my eyes. I felt redeemed, confirmed and so blessed it overwhelmed me again with tears of joy. Certainly I’ve received possibly as good if not better news when my 7th biopsy revealed I was in remission as I discussed in Faith, Quantum Physics, and Stockdale Paradox. Don’t ask me to explain why this one felt so confirming and satisfying. It may be the way it was said, it may be the season we are in. It may be the realization and culmination of accepting that for six months or better of this year I was confined to a hospital. Now finally the recognition of that journey and struggle is settling in with the hope shortly I will be able to resume a normal life.
Once again I still face a somewhat perilous journey ahead. My immune system is low and possibly could remain that way for up to a year from my transplant. I still have occasional stomach issues, tiredness, dry mouth, and my feet are still numb and tingly from all the chemotherapy. There’s always a chance that graft versus host disease will appear. Yet this news along with the elimination of two of my medications is extremely heartening!
Long ago I know that I would not have been able to describe my life as disciplined. Today I’m realizing the results of my efforts to overcome this illness are truly the ability to have become aware of the power of discipline and the power of healing from faith, love, and so many of you who responded with prayers and support.
I owe my mother and dad a great deal for instilling discipline in my life as a child. I’m sure I would not have been able to respond equally up to this challenge without the dedication and devotion to discipline me as a child. If you’re a parent you know exactly how difficult this is. We love our children yet the hardest thing to do is make sure we discipline them when they are not taking the proper steps to grow up. It hurts to discipline, yet it must be done. “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” maybe politically incorrect. Perhaps it should be spare the discipline and spoil the child to make it fit this wave of societal change.
A good friend of mine, Gary Gunn, who is also a business coach to the automotive service industry provided me with an idea I like that I feel should rule my life from this time forward. It’s to make each day a masterpiece. Taken specifically it can be challenging. Taken broadly it can mean so many different things. If you’re a home maker it’s simply doing this masterfully. If you’re home sick do it as masterfully as you can. While not burdening one with a yoke that is too heavy it simply means being mindful of who you are and never allow yourself to diminish your divinity by stooping to a level that is beneath you.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my wife for her continuing efforts to ensure I return to full health. She has been the most dedicated person anyone can ever imagine and she remains vigilant to me and my health every day. Each day when I see her, the radiance of her deep beauty encourages and inspires me. I can’t tell you how often her simply strolling into my hospital room filled me with faith, hope and courage. She is an incredible woman and as you may recall in Cross the Red Sea much of the faith I’ve been able to muster in my journey to health comes from this faith building miracle surrounding her. She is someone who already makes every day a masterpiece for me!
Of course all this reminds me of how much I have to be grateful for. How far I’ve come, what I’ve experience and cherished this past year. If we embrace are challenges we find the blessings that are in all of them. Discipline, reverence and faith are exponentially important to success in any endeavor. I remind you this Christmas of one of my favorite quotes from Jim Collins, in Good to Great.
“A culture of discipline is not a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness.”
Ahead in blogs the Fundamental Attribution Error and why it prevents us from understanding each other better. Plus I'll have observations on Annual Strategic Planning from my clients who’ve chosen their priorities for 2013.