Leukemia has been the greatest single trial in my life. It has also been the single most powerful spiritual experience I could possibly have had and it continually provokes me towards righteousness. I’ve seen myself rise to great heights as well as be distracted to pettiness because of it. What does it all mean? I truly don’t know except that it was foreordained for some important purpose either in my life or the lives of those around me.
I wish I could consistently be strong spiritually but I’m not. I still struggle with faith, and service, and forgiveness, and vision and a host of other things. I do know that My Father in Heaven is capable of bringing me back to Him if I choose to be obedient, faithful and repentant.
I caught the last session of General Conference today. I’ve been so distracted and preoccupied with leukemia I managed to lose track of the General Conference schedule. It’s so easy to let the spiritual things in your life be swallowed up by the current cares and concerns. Still, even for that one session, it was a delight to hear God’s word for us through his duly appointed representative.
My life has been remarkably good even as it has been so terribly difficult. When I concentrate of what’s important and have faith, I can handle it. I’ve seen more than a few miraculous things happen on my behalf. When I fail to do so, then I stumble. The pattern is the same over and over again. I keep forgetting that this isn’t playing out according to my plan but as a part of a far greater plan of which my life is a part and it will be adjusted according to my performance and willingness to receive it.
As far as the leukemia is concerned, I didn’t know that I was going to get that dread disease but I knew that some event of grave importance was going to occur in my life in the future and that it would have very important implications for me. Didn’t know what it was but I recognized it when I saw it. For that reason, I was able to exercise great faith at the beginning of this illness, more so than I have any time since then. I become more uncertain as time goes by because I have less idea of what to expect. Like everyone else in my position, I want everything to work out well and to what I see as my “advantage” without really knowing what is best from this point forward. It’s so important that we walk with faith and a willingness to assume that everything will work out for the best, whatever that is. That’s not always easy to do.
To a few people what I’v written about today will have deep meaning in their lives and for a few others it will amount to superstitious prattling of an anxious old man trying to preserve his life for a few more years. I went ahead with the stem cell transplant because it felt like the right thing to do. It was something that I had to go through, regardless of the outcome. I still don’t know the outcome. Even if I survive the leukemia, I’m still 69 years old. What does the future hold? I doubt that it can be terribly long. I want to spend my time doing those things that will be of greatest value as long as the opportunity is there to do so. What will that end up being? I hope I get to work productively again. And, I want to write. And make peace with my family (the most daunting task of all). That will require all of the strength that I’m permitted to have!