In this et ceteras I will get the unpleasant topic -- politics -- out of the way first. My thoughts today center around President Obama's handling of the so-called "talks" about raising the federal debt ceiling. Specifically, they center around how deplorable and disgusting (and frankly, how third-world-dictatorish) his handling has been.
To recap, under Obama's watch the federal government has operated at larger deficits than it did under all previous administrations combined. Then Obama appointed a commission to come up with ways to help get deficit spending under control. Then he ignored every single option that commission recommended. And he submitted a budget for this year which was so horrible that the Democrat-controlled Senate rejected it unanimously. And yet, he has the audacity to accuse Republicans of not being responsible.
To get him elected, Obama was portrayed as something new and unprecedented. But in truth, he is an automaton leftist who has spent his life peddling rubbish from Marx's 163-year-old Communist Manifesto. Fortunately, for everyone but blind ideologues, Obama's jig is now up because it is obvious to see through his untruths. His central problem is that he considers his runaway, unconstitutional spending to be good, so any attempt he makes to seem serious about reining it in comes off as laughably insincere. In other words, it comes off as what it is: A bald-faced lie.
As you may know, our fourth child (the second to make it to term) recently came into the "outside world." With me being 40 and Erika being 39, Parker is probably the last child we will ever have, and I am being sure to relish every aspect of these days. I am savoring that "newborn smell" when I hold him close to my face, and appreciating what it feels like to cradle such a small human being in my arms.
I am thinking about how much Parker looks like Sarah did at the ripe old age of 21 days, and I am proudly impressed with how well Sarah has adapted to her new role as big sister. Yes, she brags about her brother and shows him off to others...but more than that, she voluntarily helps out and she acts more mature than she did just a few weeks ago. She no longer complains about things that would have made her unhinged before. But then again, she looks so much older, and is so much taller, and she uses grown-up phrases when she speaks. Oh God, how the sands of time rush so swiftly through our fingers...
I have kept in touch with a few of my friends from my glory days at Auburn University. In 2005, Erika and I attended the wedding of one of those friends, whose name I will not share because I don't know if she wants it shared. Anyway, her husband has a heart condition which has been dragging him through the "valley of the shadows" over the last year. He has been hospitalized for more than two consecutive months. Late last week, they received the dark news that unless he received a heart transplant, his time on Earth was measured in days, not even weeks. And as you may have guessed, hearts are not easily or quickly come by to begin with...especially ones that are a match.
Over the weekend, two hearts came available but he missed out on both. Then, yesterday evening, with the clock ticking, they received word that an apparently compatible heart was available. He was prepped for surgery while the surgical team traveled by helicopter to inspect the heart and determine whether it was fit. It was, and the surgery took place in the wee hours this morning. There is a long road still ahead and he is not out of the woods yet, given how long and complicated it can be to recover from transplant surgery, but right now everything is looking good.
The faithful of you out there will appreciate this aspect of the story, and I trust that my old Auburn buddy doesn't mind that I'm sharing it about her husband. He made a promise to God that on the day he learned of getting a new heart, he would read whichever psalm coincides with the number of days he had been hospitalized. The day he learned of the heart was his 69th consecutive day in the hospital, so he read Psalm 69. I had never read it before (and honestly, I probably never would have) but when I heard that story I cracked open The Book and read it and man, did it ever make the hair stand up on my arms.
It is important to remember that there is tragedy in the midst of this triumph. Somewhere, some family lost a loved one who can never be replaced...and that family, in addition to their loved one, was generous enough -- moral enough -- to give up a part of the deceased to ensure that another may live. Tonight I pray for the peace of that family and for the soul of that loved one, about whom the only things I know are that he was my age and he died in an ATV accident. If you are his relative and happen to be reading this, God bless you.
But what did I mean when I used the word "epiphany" to describe this segment of this post? Well, up until today I have not been an organ donor. After today, that will no longer be the case.