Sunday, July 12, 2015

Keeping the good news the good news

The last few days of my life haven’t gone entirely as planned, beginning with my first ever ride in an ambulance on Friday morning. After being at work till quarter to ten the night before for a meeting,I turned off my alarm the next morning, then overslept and was running late, so was then literally running for the bus in the rain, and as I sped up over the median strip of the road I felt something snap in the back of my leg, which then ceased to function as per usual. But I kept on hobbling to the bus, then once on the bus I found myself feeling simultaneously nauseous and faint and had to dig for tissues to mop my face when I started to sweat profusely, but not knowing what else to do I stayed on the bus. Then after getting off the bus I had to just stand on the pavement, thinking ‘oh my word’. I struggled to make it across to my work building foyer, where I sank into a seat feeling quite faint unwell. So, when I made it up the lifts, I flopped in my desk chair, then signaled to a girl at work who was formerly a nurse when she came through the door, and she actually decided to call an ambulance. 

This was perhaps an unnecessary drama, as I think I just need some time to get over the initial pain and the physical stress of trying to walk on my leg, but off I went. Then, curiously, once I made it to emergency, it soon became my heart rate they were concerned about, which was down around 40 beats a minute (when as I understand it you get a rapid heart rate if in shock, not a slow one). So I had an ECG, which was taken off to the doctor, who then told me she was going to get her boss to look at it. Eventually I was cleared to go as they said I must just have resting bradycardia because I am “fit”. I like to think I am reasonably fit, but I don’t know about that fit. So I am yet to have an ultrasound on my leg as an outpatient and still don’t know whether I have partially torn my achilles or torn my gastrocnemius (I am actually blaming some recent squats for that, rather than simply the run to the bus, and it is not too bad now, so I am hoping it's the latter), so I have to get that seen to and also take my ECG to my GP for any follow-up (I think I have always had a slow pulse, and am not much concerned about that, but will get it seen to in any case). I can’t drive with my messed up right leg, so instead of going over to the coast for a family birthday party and doing other things, I have mostly stayed home for the weekend, shuffling about and using crutches when necessary, and have to work out how I am actually going to get to these medical appointments.

But that perhaps serves as something of a segue into something more interesting than more diarising of my life. I am currently reading Vanishing Grace, by Philip Yancey, for a book club I am in (I am now in two monthly book clubs, and don’t know that I am always going to keep up with the prescribed reading). The first part of this book looks at why the good news of the gospel is no longer perceived as being good news in many cases, and he writes something that I find rather apt to certain current debates being raged around the interwebs.
Theologian Miroslav Volf describes evangelism as ‘sharing God’s wisdom’. The God who created human beings knows what kind of life works best for us. Some things are obvious – don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t murder – and human society clearly works better that way. Some things are counter-intuitive: care for the vulnerable, find your life by serving others, forgive when wronged, love your enemies. Yet that way of life ultimately proves most satisfying, for in following it we become the people God intended us to be.

As my aging body needs attention and repair, I have increasing appreciation for one of the titles given to Jesus: the Great Physician. A doctor cannot heal unless the patient presents a complaint ...

Each time I visit my doctor for a check-up he goes through a list of questions that in any other context would seem intrusive ... I take no offence at his prying into my personal life because I know we have the same interests at heart: my health.

When I am recovering from an injury my doctor gets even bossier ... [After breaking his neck] I accepted his counsel because I recognised that he was prescribing what was best for me and not just depriving me of pleasure.

The oft-misunderstood Christian notion of sin makes many people uncomfortable. Indeed, it establishes a clear line of accountability – but to a God who loves me and has my best interests at heart. Again the parallel to a doctor applies. Coming from a strict church background, I missed this good-news aspect of God’s wisdom. I thought of God as a cosmic policeman enforcing arbitrary rules rather than as a doctor who wants me to thrive. My conversations with the uncommitted convince me that many people have a similarly erroneous concept of sin. At the heart of sin lies a lack of trust that God intends the best for us.

... Human rebellion began in the Garden of Eden when God said in effect, ‘Trust me. I know what is best for you.’ Adam and Eve failed the test, and we have paid the consequences ever since. Today, some likewise insist that we humans should decide for ourselves what is best. A damaged human making that judgement is like a alcoholic deciding whether or not to drink. For our own well-being we need to trust God for basic guidance about how to live.
Also, here's a video that I find helpful in current times. Some might object to the category of 'brokenness' he's using here, but I will let him speak for himself.

Vaughan from Living Out on Vimeo.


pete said...

Hey hope you are ok and healing up alright. Did not expect to read this when I had a few spare minutes to check out your blog. Take care and don't push yourself to hard too soon. Hope you have someone to help you out with errands and driving you places or cooking you a few meals. Sadly, my cooking tends to make those sick or injured worse. Anyway, keep your chin up and relax in front of a fire during your Canberra winter. I'll be praying for a good recovery for you.

Ali said...

Thank you Pete. That's very kind!

Meredith said...

Ali, shame on me for not commenting sooner. I couldn't believe it when I read it. I occasionally think about not having ever been in an ambulance and then quickly think that I don't actually need to experience that, as it turns out. I hope you are on the mend dear one. Sending a virtual hug.

Ali said...

Ah Meredith, that is quite alright! No, you don't need a ride in an ambulance at all, not at $904 to go a few kilometres (thankfully I am covered for that, and I know they have skilled people and fancy equipment and all, but if it's not life-threatening call a taxi!). I am on the mend thank you. Just some physio and few more weeks, and all should be fine. But I will respond to your lovely email.

Meredith said...

Well done on finding my email in under three weeks. Champion. I look forward to hearing from you when you have a moment. No rush though...I only just read your last email!!! (Cue laughter here.)