The lesson at church yesterday (stay with me, I don't plan to preach) was mostly about where we place importance in life. Tony, my pastor, spoke about money vs. love. He also asked where we place our priorities. I think if more of us thought on, really examined, our priorities we might be able to alleviate not only many of our problems but also a huge weight many of us carry on our shoulders. Some without even realizing it. That's what I took from the message Sunday morning anyway.
It also spurred me into thinking about my recent prayer life. For those of you who don't "pray" per se, try thinking about all this "prayer" talk as, "where your focus lies." From the day of my prognosis, the day my oncologist first walked into my hospital room and told me I had three months to live without chemotherapy and six months if I pursued chemo, my first prayers regarding this cancer were that my life would mean something and be used for God's purpose (also, if God chose, I'd be willing to be used for His porpoise) and that God's will would be active in my life. That is, more simply explained, that God would use me and that I would make His plan more important than my plan.
Recently, at some point early in the summer I think, my prayers changed. While still asking for God's will to be the focus of my life, I began to focus my prayer on a request for healing. Then my prayers seemed to drift into something like, "If it's in your will, please heal me God." My prayers have become selfish. It's a road that, for me, is dangerous to go down. As a performer, and I'm sure it's true for a lot of other people, it's way to easy for me to become self centered, takes way to long for me to recognize my "self-centeredness" and, sometimes, even longer to change my direction. I think the reason my focus changed was that treatment became more painful. Yes, it was more painful in a physical way. But I've also outlived my original prognosis. (This is due, I believe, to my body being able to take on a lot more of the chemotherapy (i.e. poisons) than anyone had expected.) The farther I live past that expiration date, the tougher living is.
There are times now when I wait, or expect, death at my door at any minute. It's like Belle waiting for her "Grand-Paw", my Dad, to come over. She somehow knows, if we mention Grand-Paw in a certain way, that he's on his way. (Is it technically still a rhyme if you use the exact same word to rhyme with. Or is that just allowed in Hallmark cards?) She begins looking out the window for him. She knows he's coming and can't get it off her mind. It's not that I'm excited about death showing up. Rather I just get tired of the waiting and, as I've said, become hyper-focused on what's coming.
"It's not our needs that get us into trouble in this world. It's our wants and desires." - Lois Coffman
|My Grandmother, Lois Coffman (seated), and I in what I believe is the silliest picture for which she's ever posed. This picture is my proof that she and I are related.|
All this makes it harder to choose joy on a daily basis. It makes it harder to support my wife and family, to "be there" for my friends, to focus on talking with God instead of at Him. So I need to thank Tony, my pastor, for his unintended lesson on Sunday. For bringing to my attention that I have been, in recent weeks, living my life more and more for myself and less for God.
God does have a plan for each and every life on this planet. Sometimes we walk so far down the path of our own choice and so deep into our selfish wants that it feels almost impossible to find the path we were meant to live. My Grandmother says, "It's not our needs that get us into trouble in this world. It's our wants and desires." I don't think anyone lives their entire life on the path God intended. But it is possible to return to His path from wherever we have drifted. God's plan does not promise us happiness. In fact, we're assured that our life will be rougher. In First Peter, chapter four, verses twelve to thirteen, it says, "Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner." (The Message) We, that is to say Christians, believe that our real "reward" (for lack of a better word) will be reuniting with God in a personal and actual way... not just the spiritual reformation we have here on Earth.
Anyway, I guess it all breaks down to the fact that I'm refocusing my prayers to God. I'll be seeking His will and praying that He'll be able to use me to touch the lives of others. I want to be God's servant. It doesn't pay much. But the rewards are unimaginable.
In other news, I recently made a request on my Facebook and Twitter accounts that I've decided to carry across to the blog. I'd like some mail. Actual mail. Snail mail. Non-E Mail. If you have time and are feeling bored I'd like to get a letter or post-card, preferably without anthrax. You can write to me, my wife or even our puppy.
So address your thoughts to either Aaron Jamison, Kristin Jamison, Belle c/o Aaron Jamison or even to:
Kristin, Aaron and Belle
PO Box 72047
Eugene, OR 97401
Please don't forget to check out my Mom's blog and my Wife, Kristin's blog. They both have a lot to say. Mom's currently and frequently reminiscing and Kristin, this week, is venting... er... just a little.