To Thine Own Self Be True
Dear Cousin Butchie,
I don't think you usually get letters like this, but here goes.
I am 22 years old and suffering from a form of leukemia which is very hard to treat. After the second round of chemo, the doctors told me that I have less than six months left and that I should try to make the most of the remaining days. I have no hair left, and it's not a downer for me because I always tried the bald look from time to time and some guys have told me that it's a turn on. I looked in the bathroom mirror and almost kissed myself, so I know it's okay.
My problem, aside from impending death, is people offering me stupid "reasons" for my medical condition. I've asked them to treat me the same as they always have and not to feel uncomfortable. I would rather be discussing plans for Jersey Pride on June 2nd or watching a funny gay-themed dvd or dish about just about everyone who isn't within the sound of our voices. I want to live normally even if it won't be for very long.
So, here are the things that well-meaning people say to me and a brief example of how I choose to answer them.
1. Everything happens for a reason. My reply is NOT!!! This is a catch all reason people give when they don't know anything else to say.. You can scour the Bible from front to back and never find this question/statement answered.
2. This could be the end of days. My reply is a yawn. You people are always looking for signs of the end of time. How many times has someone insisted that doomsday is upon us, sometimes even giving a specific date. Even if I go back to their Bible I can show them that no one knows the time or the date or any of the details about this event. Just maybe they can see that each and every generation has expereinced some reason to believe we are the last people who will inhabit the earth. I want to enjoy my remaning days without having to believe that everyone else in the world comes with me. Like who would attend my funeral and say nice things about me--the things they haven't said up until now?
3. You will be in a better place. No shit! I mean, I hope you're right, but I can't dwell on it. Like, is Adolph Hitler in a better place? I'll be in a better place. Does that mean you want to join me? Alway room for one more.
4. Christ died for your sins. And do you accept Jesus as your personal lord and savior? Have you asked him into your heart? OMG! I am Jewish and I have very little time remaining on this earth. I believe none of the things you asked me, or I would have become a Christian somewhere along the way. What I can tell you is that there is no place in the Bible that tells me I must accept Jesus as my personal lord and savior. As a Jewish dude who has made his Bar Mitzvah and participated in many of the corporal works of mercy that Christians often only talk about, I find it insulting to descend on me like vultures at the last moment with sure fire suggestions on how to save my soul.
Thank you for writing a letter from your heart about what you are experiencing. It may enligten others to be much more careful what they say to people who are critically ill. You bring up some very good issues about what some Christians believe is the "right" thing to say to people. Often, it has to be a case that they don't know what to say. Instead of letting you direct the conversation, they present statements and "beliefs" that do nothing to make the ill person feel better.
My one thought to leave with you at this time is that you seem to have a lot of spit and fight in you, and it doesn't hurt to believe that miracles do occur, often when least expected.
I wish you the best