As the months go by, a question has been slowly emerging that I can no longer ignore. It is the Big Question. I have prefaced my presentations with a qualifier -- that I don’t have the answer to it. So at my routine bimonthly visit this week, I asked my doctor: “Why am I still alive?”
I prepared for an answer related to lifestyle or something biological, ready to smash platitudes into smithereens. Really, a diet of cigarettes and Twinkies would have served me as well as all those years of stinking salads and exercise. In fact, maybe I didn’t eat enough Twinkies. I’ve read the primary literature, I’m current on the research, and I know that the whole thing is a crap shoot.
Nope, I didn’t get platitudes.
Dr. Khera threw her east Indian wisdom at me, handed down from her mother: “You are part of a big picture and you cannot see all of it. You are here to be an inspiration, to provide a new perspective to everyone around you, including your doctors.”
Please pause for a moment.
Now, imagine hearing those words from your physician.
There are times every single day when I want to cry like a child. I don’t want this story. The world seems to hate the things that Deborah and I cherish. As humanity devolves into a weird blend of complacency and insanity, I have been considering the elegance of my right-now, sitting twelve feet from the lakeshore, in the middle of my favorite desert, watching the coots dive for lunch. I am unsettled by the probability that my doctor is right.