…is a question we hear a lot, especially over the holidays. Like many men, my typical pat answer is “just fine”, or “can’t complain”, or “good, thanks,” or the classic BudLight deflection “how YOU doing?”
But on day 5 post-op from radical laparoscopic prostatectomy surgery, I had a mild revelation. Doing a double-take in the mirror after a shower, I realized I look horrific. My whole torso looks like the sky of an Oklahoma thunderstorm, and further south — well, let’s just say the storm looks even worse…
The irony is I feel relatively good. Free from painkillers since early Sunday and most of the bloating which results from the procedure, I have full mobility apart from the constant companionship of my catheter for another couple days.
And the reality? How I’m truly doing is altogether incredible. A week ago, I had cancer. Today in all probability, I do not. Thanks to early detection and the mastery of robotic surgeons like mine (read about them in Peak, part of Erikkson’s study of the power of deliberate practice), even the surface bruising and temporary side effects will soon be in the past. The tiny scars of six pen-sized incisions will be a fading testimony.
The revelation I want to remember here is simple and it’s not about me. Cancer and surgery like mine will test both your physical core and your spiritual core. A strong physical core will help you look better and feel better and heal better. But a strong spiritual core will help you in all of life — and do so in reverse order.
On Christmas Day, watching post-op YouTube stories of other guys thanking their doctors for saving their life, I shared their gratitude filtered through my worldview. Jesus saved my life. My doctor extended it. In saving my life, Jesus also gave me a new identity, free and clear from “how I’m doing” in terms of looks, feelings and circumstances. When your identity is secure, you live abundantly – which means you are a life-giver to others. When your identity is not secure, you can fool others with how good you look but you can’t fool yourself. There is something deep within which still needs healing, and nothing in this world can heal it – no operation, no drug, no therapy, no amount of money, success or accolades. It’s a spiritual surgery only God can perform.
So this blog is a heartfelt thanks to everyone who’s prayed for me, my surgery and how I’m doing. Now I’m asking and praying for how you’re doing. As you look in your mirror, is your answer based on how you look, how you feel, or something deeper? Have you had your spiritual surgery, or have you been putting it off?
As the apostle Paul wrote, “physical training is of some value, but (training for) godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 1:8 – NIV).
What will be your core training in 2017? Why?