I’m sure those of you who read my last blog about my elevated cholesterol levels have been anxiously waiting to hear about my doctor appointment this week (please hear the sarcasm in this!) I met on Thursday with sweet Dr. Wood who let me know that my cholesterol was up because my good HDL was high – as predicted by Dr. Laura Lomax. She also was not overly concerned about my bone density, unlike the bone scan technician who had me feeling like I was one stumble away from a wheelchair.
As Dr. Wood and I finished our discussion, she showed me a computer program that she used to calculate my chances of having a broken bone in the next 35 years. Right now I have a .2 chance of having a hip fracture and 7.7 chance of another type of break. When I am 90, that number goes up to 20% for the hip and 35% for the rest of my bones. She passed this information on to me with a smile and a reassurance that all was well.
Those graphs have been on my mind since then – my future fractures measured out in nice neat numbers and scientific predictions. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had graphical predictions for everything that is going to happen in the future? Maybe a graph to let me know when I am going to become widowed? Or one to tell me when to expect cancer to sneak up on me? How about one that shows me how Adam’s life is going to play out over the next 35 years?
I recently finished a Young Adult trilogy called Matched by Ally Conde, set in a future world where the government controls every aspect of life in order to ensure a safe and happy life for its citizens. The “Society’ determines what each person eats and how much they exercise and has eradicated cancer and other life threatening diseases so that everyone lives into their 80’s, when they are euthanized at a special ceremony. The government chooses each person’s vocation and life mate – everything is well ordered, predictable and comfortable.
As with all utopian societies, an element of unrest is percolating beneath the surface. Conde’s theme throughout the book is that people need choice in their lives, from their life’s mate to the books they read. Her characters risk their lives for a life that is more than just safe and secure. If I could get a printout of my next 35 years, would I want it? I don’t think so.
I heard again today of another man dying too young, the friend of my cousin Garner who left behind a wife and 10 year old son, a triathlete with no family history of heart disease. Would a graph of his life have predicted this outcome? Probably not. The graph from my doctor assumes I will not trip on a curb on an early morning run or fall over my cat getting up from the couch. Like it or not, life is unpredictable.
But that is what we have, and I have decided to quit worrying. Each run is a gift, a thanksgiving to God for my healthy body and all that is good in my life. Today I gloried in the sunny day, the bright red of the fuschia bushes in front of the house, and the mountain views at the top of the hill.
As the Psalmist says, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I thank God each day for this healthy body He has given me and for the life I have. During this Thanksgiving season, be sure to give Him praise for what He has given you.