In July 2000 at University Hospital in Denver I had a lung biopsy. Immediately after the surgery the surgeon said my wife, Barbara, “Have you considered a lung transplant?” We had not given one thought to a transplant.
I began having a non-productive cough in 1995. In the fall of 1999 I was checked out for shortness of breath with asthma, apnea and other things ruled out. My local pulmonologist suspected idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis which a CT scan at Barnes Hospital (St. Louis) confirmed. However, my doctor wasn’t sure what treatment to pursue.
I went to National Jewish Research Center, a top respiratory hospital in Denver. They agreed with the diagnosis of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Idiopathic means the cause is unknown. Pulmonary refers to the lungs. Fibrosis means scarring. IPF, as it is called, is a progressive scarring and deterioration of the lungs leaving the victim unable to breathe. My doctor said, “You don’t have cancer, but you have something just as bad. You have a life expectancy of about three years.”
More than 128,000 Americans suffer from this disease with about 48,000 diagnosed annually. Each year 40,000 die of IPF, the same number as die of breast cancer. Despite these facts, little is known about IPF. It has no known cause or means of prevention or FDA-approved treatment—outside of a lung transplant. Continue reading
When speaking about C. S. Lewis in class at Wheaton College, Clyde Kilby said he believed that children exposed to the world of fantasy were better able to understand and relate to the real world as adults.
In The Christian World of C. S. Lewis, Kilby wrote:
Lewis rigorously defends the fairy tale against any who claim that it gives a false conception of life. The fact is, says he, that this is the direct opposite of the truth and it is the so-called realistic stories which deceive children. The fairy tale, like the myth, on the one hand arouses longing for more ideal worlds and on the other gives the real world a new dimension of depth. The boy ‘does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods: the reading makes all real woods a little more enchanted.’ The child reading the fairy tale is delighted simply in desiring, while the child reading a ‘realistic’ story may establish the success of its hero as a standard for himself and when he cannot have the same success, may suffer bitter disappointment.
Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and other similar books have an important place in a child’s early development.
 Clyde S. Kilby, The Christian World of C. S. Lewis (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 116.
God cares and suffers with us when we grieve. He grants grieving as a grace to help us deal with personal loss and to prepare us to comfort those experiencing loss.
Grief as a Gift
Christians grieve even with our hope in life beyond death. Losing a loved one brings great pain and indescribable sadness and loss. It is insensitive, unrealistic, and unbiblical to suggest that Christians do not need to grieve. Pretending one does not need to grieve is unhealthy.
God designed the grieving process as a way of coping with the death of loved ones and other tragic losses. Mourning and expressing one’s grief can facilitate healing. Minimizing or refusing to grieve delays healing.
Grief is the mental, emotional, and spiritual pain and sorrow enabling us to cope with serious loss. The depth of our grief depends on the intensity of our love for the person or thing that is lost. When the loss is anticipated due to extended illness, grieving takes a different shape than in cases of unexpected loss. In divorce, the hurt is permanent but it lacks the closure and finality of the death of a mate because conflicted consequences continue.
When a tragic loss occurs, grief is more consuming and devastating than we ever imagined. Words fail to express what we feel. Shock leaves us half-numb, making it difficult to comprehend what others say or to formulate our own thoughts in coherent sentences. However, the shock helps us survive the early hours and days. Continue reading