Monday, February 29, 2016

The Wall

Not the Pink Floyd album or the song by Kansas. From Leftoverture, I believe. Both are masterpieces, in my opinion, but I'm not talking about music. I'm talking about my endurance, or lack thereof. I find that now, I don't get tired gradually. Instead, now I hit a wall. I'm fine for a while, then suddenly my legs go all rubbery and I get very unsteady on my feet. I feel like I have to step very carefully so I don't fall. I literally start to droop like a plant that needs water. It's very strange.

That happened to me at each rehearsal we had for last night's concert. In the first rehearsal, I hit the wall at about 9:30, but we were ready to stop then anyway. The next rehearsal, I had to leave before 8:00 PM. But last night, thanks to God and adrenaline, I made it through the whole night and wanted to stay longer. These were the first times I've hit that wall, but that may simply be because I haven't had to do long, intensive rehearsals that last for several hours since my diagnosis. When this band was together back in the day, we had 8 hour all day rehearsals. There's no way I could do that now. From now on, I have to watch myself, and take my lack of endurance into account before I commit to something.

But I am not sorry I committed to the concert last night, in spite of my struggles. Last night was just what the doctor ordered for me. Not really, but I wish it was. I don't really want to know right now what the doctor's gonna order for me. I'll find that out a week from Tuesday.

Last night's concert was as good as advertised. Everything sounded great, everybody had fun, and the Holy Spirit was there. I saw friends I hadn't seen for years. And I got to be back at the church that I love so much.

I still feel that God has released me from leading worship. For the uninitiated, that means I no longer feel that leading music in churches or for Christian events is the direction that I'm supposed to go. Individual, one-off events like last night are fine, but that's not what my main thing should be now. At least that's how I've been feeling, and no gigs I've had since my diagnosis have changed my feelings so far.  I haven't lost the love of doing it, but I've lost the motivation. But once I'm actually on stage performing, I'm back at home. Once the gig is over, though, I'm not waiting to book the next one like I used to be. Instead, I want to continue to work on my journal. I want to write. That's what I feel like I'm supposed to do right now.

At Friday night's rehearsal, one friend was very complimentary about this journal. He's the third or fourth pastor who's told me he's keeping and using material from here. It's hard for me to imagine a higher honor than that. He gave me one of the highest compliments I've ever received when he said, "Did you know you could write like that?" Write. Like. That. I told him that I did know I could write "like that," I just didn't know that "like that" was any good! I took his words as confirmation that I'm on the right track.

Yesterday I said that this gig was all about the people for me, and it was. It was about reconnecting. A recurrent theme for me these days. I reconnected with some people that I consider family. It's a precious thing.

But the greatest impact on me from this weekend came from my friend Paul Kelley. On Saturday, we had him and his wife Denise over for dinner. Paul gave me the pendant that you see in the picture below. It was made by his cousin. You can see that it's made of nails, bound together by orange and blue colored wire. Bronco colors, of course. Gotta love that. Hanging from the cross is a cancer ribbon. I was very touched by this gift, simple as it is. I think it means something. I thought about it yesterday, and talked about it at the concert last night. If you were there, sorry for the repeat. But it's too good not to repeat.

I think that the lesson this pendant is trying to teach me has something to do with nails, a cross, and their authority over my cancer. This will sound foreign to any non-Christian reading this, but I think this pendant is trying to tell me that I can take my cancer, and just hang it on the cross. So that's what I've done.

I'm not sure where the Broncos fit into all of this, but I'll figure that out later.

And you know what? I'm not afraid anymore. I'm a little nervous about what my doctor might say, but not scared. I'm starting to be able to trust again. I slept very well last night, probably more from exhaustion than anything else, but I don't believe I'll have another sleepless night tonight. The events of this past weekend were just what I needed.

One more thing. As great as the concert was for me, it came at a physical cost. This morning I weighed 120. That's what I weighed in the 7th grade, I think. Gaunt Cancer Guy may make an appearance soon.

Thanks again for being here. Your support keeps me going.

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