Friday, April 6, 2012

Thankful for the Blood

Three years ago this March 30th, I had surgery to remove a cancerous prostate. My surgeon pointed out later I would have been dead within two years without the surgery. But he also told me that I needed two blood transfusions during surgery, without which I would not have survived the operation.

In my upcoming book, Prostate Surgery: My Story of Survival, due out early summer, I describe my feelings that first Easter shortly after surgery. They were a sharp reminder my cancer of sin could not be removed without the divine blood that flowed at Calvary. Here is an excerpt from that book.

But Easter, traditionally the period remembering Christ’s death and resurrection, had particular meaning for me following surgery. It feels a little peculiar to think that I had someone else’s blood flowing through my arteries and veins during surgery. Although I had been a blood donor most of my life, I was particularly grateful for the one who donated blood for me. The parallel is all too clear: I am eternally grateful for the blood that was given for me at the cross. Human blood gives me existence, but the life that has ultimate meaning for me is the transcendent life gained through the blood of Jesus Christ shed for me.

As Ann and I attend good Friday service this morning, our gratitude to God for His sacrifice on our behalf, will be heightened by recalling this experience again.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Discipline or Inspiration

Some of you were alert enough to notice my blog for last Sunday was missing. If you didn't, welcome back anyway. I simply forgot in the busyness of that weekend. That Sunday was the dedication of our latest grandchild, Matteo—number eight—in Ottawa and blogs were lost in the shuffle.

I blog once a week for personal discipline, which in some ways is a contradiction. How can writing which needs inspiration be a discipline? If I have to wait for inspiration, when do I write? But if I write without inspiration, am I saying anything meaningful?

I have to admit, some Sundays I open up this file not knowing what to write—a common occurrence known as writer’s block. But if I’m to continue this as a discipline, then I have to write something. How do I resolve this dilemma?

Strangely, inspiration often comes in the process of doing. This is true of any project, not just writing. To start, I may have only a flicker of an idea, but as I write, further thoughts come to mind, and the idea starts to expand into—I trust—something meaningful.

Of course, sometimes inspiration comes as a bolt from outside, forcing me to write. But discipline can also be a source of inspiration. For instance, is this piece is inspired? you be the judge. But at least it should provide some fresh ideas on the relationship between discipline and inspiration.

Moreover, it should prompt further ideas of your own on the subject. If it does, share them with us.

Next weekend is Easter, and I have some thoughts (inspiration?) to share with you on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Join me then.