All my possessions for a moment in time--Queen Elizabeth I
It is a lazy Sunday evening on the East Coast. Temperatures remain in triple digits for the third straight month, as we struggle through "the dog days" of summer. As a child, I am not sure I fully comprehended this colloquial expression. I am beginning to understand it better with age. There is no beating this heat--tolerating or succumbing are the only options. Life feels a bit like the oppressive weather these days. I have the choice of tolerating the existential questions that keep bouncing around in my heart or succumb to "the why of it all."
This is the first summer in a long time that I have been able to expend a bit of energy on my particular research interests. I reach back in my mind to a distinct memory of the recent past. I was a broke graduate student taking on debt to earn more advanced education. I was living by the skin of my teeth and sleeping on a wiry, pronged futon that doubled as an accupressurist, without the accuracy. It was there on that uncomfortable chair/bed/futon that I came across the thing I had waited to see for so long--a definitive answer for the plaguing elusiveness of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. When I read the publication by Lombardi et al. (see link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19815723), I celebrated with hugs, cheers, excited status updates and ebullient phone calls--sincerely believing that the mysterious case had been closed. I thought out loud, "It's just a matter of time now and the cure will come." Like a gypsy curse...it seems I was right. It IS a matter of time, that most precious of commodities, and it's running out. Maybe the Mayans have it right and there will be some cataclysmic end to it all or maybe we misinterpret what they had to say, take it out of context, add our own meaning, attach our own purpose to their messages and expect the bleakness. Whatever the case...I have an end here. My time and my life will not go on indefinitely in this context, on this earth. I have so many dreams, so much potential. I don't want to waste what time I have left or spill it out with tears, crying about what might have been...only if. The thought of living out the rest of my days not being able to fully live out my dreams is a haunting threat. Without a cure...it's like the heat. I either tolerate the condition, try to rise above it or succumb to it.
In a recent conversation with Butch Labauve, an awesome pastor in Addis, Louisiana, he posed this question to me: What are you WAITING for? THIS is your time! No matter how I try to spin his exhortation...I can't escape the reality of the truth. This is my time, the only time I have. No promises of another beat of the heart, tick of the clock or silver bullet cure. Onward and upward, no matter what the cost. What other option does a man in the valley of decision have?
Kyle McNease - Academic and founder and CEO of Prognosis Hope.