Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Them bones -- Prov 3: 7-8

I was wrong about yesterday's post being the last in this series. One more. Brace yourselves: it's pretty weird.

"Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones"

As my wife could testify, I am quite often wise in my own eyes. I even spend excessive amounts of times, some Sunday mornings, staring at myself in the mirror, just checking out how wise I look, and we end up late to church.

Last summer, at an appointment for my testicular cancer follow-up, the doctor noticed that my white blood cell count had been well below normal for as long as they'd been keeping records, and seemed to be dropping. He was a little alarmed, and, as doctors often do when alarmed, suggested that a needle be used to take a piece of me out so that we could both calm down and feel safe again. As usual, I consented.

The subsequent bone marrow biopsy revealed that, in a surprisingly literal fulfillment of Proverbs 3: 7-8, my bones actually have an abnormally high percentage of fat and an unusually low percentage of marrow. It wasn't really dropping, just taking a routine dip in its lifelong course below the bottom end of normal. This is why I get sick a lot whenever I don't sleep or otherwise put stress on my under-producing immune system. This is probably why, in fact, I currently am sick and sitting at home writing this very post!

Now, along with my poor qualities (e.g. excessive intellectual self-admiration), I have many good qualities--some of which I don't need very much at all. My special love of emptying dishwashers and drainracks, for example, has been much more useful since I married a woman with a particular and inexplicable dislike for those specific tasks.

I am wondering today whether God sprinkles trials and their complementary solutions into completely different places and lives in the hope that we'll finally get a clue and put the whole puzzle together. Is it possible that for every problem, there is an answer: but the answers we have are seldom the ones we most need, and the problems we have are not only for our own growth, but to be there for someone else's answer?

Maybe it's this persistent idea that gives me hope in shared/interactive efforts over individual efforts: be they for faith, for writing, or for health care.


  1. Sorry, you're feeling ill. Enjoyed the post; and sorry about not doing the dishes when we were roomies :)

  2. More and more I'm starting to think that's the way the puzzle works. I feel like we love 1000 piece puzzles, when they're literal and physical puzzles that you can put back in the box when you're tired of them. But in our own lives we often ask for preschool puzzles--with just 8 pieces or so, every piece fitting in easily and perfectly, and sometimes divisions between where the pieces go. What we forget is that preschool puzzles can be hard for preschoolers.

  3. Last week, I finally got a bill for the lab work analyzing that sample from the bone-marrow biopsy. It was over $600. And I have insurance. Again, that's just for the lab work. The privilege of having a needle bored into the middle of my bone is separate.

    I like to think I contribute, or at least will contribute, enough to society to justify being cared for according to doctors' honest recommendations. So what would I have done if I'd gotten cancer just a few months earlier, when I was without insurance, and been given the full $7000 bill for finding out I didn't have some more sinister immune problem?



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