Friday, June 2, 2017

Man With a Mission

Sometime during the 1990s, I read Steven Covey's iconic "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People". A key point was "you need to know where you're going if you ever want to go there." Dr. Covey recommended his readers define where they wanted to go in a personal mission statement.

In the military, the mission determines a unit's or person's priorities and activities. The mission defines what one must do to succeed. I wanted to succeed in life. I took Dr. Covey's advice and developed a personal mission statement. Since then, I have been a man with a mission.

This is my mission. The core elements have been in place since I first wrote them, adding grand children when my oldest grandchild was born and the one about maintaining my health after I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

My Mission:

To love God with my whole heart, mind, soul and strength.

To worship God alone, and, by the power of His Holy Spirit, to grow into the likeness of Christ.

To live a life that exemplifies the values of Christ, a life of honesty and integrity before God and men.

To always do what is just and right.

To love my wife and children unconditionally and to demonstrate that love daily by my actions.

To assist my children’s and grand-children’s growth to become responsible and productive adult members of society.

To be a true friend to my friends.

To know and be worthy of the love and respect of family and friends alike.

To provide for my family by honest work; to know the joy of labor and to enjoy the fruits thereof.

To maintain and improve my health and physical condition to the maximum extent possible.

To delight in learning; to attain wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.

To delight and give God thanks for the good life He has given me.

And finally, when it's all over and I rest again in the arms of my Heavenly Father, to do so secure in the knowledge that I used every gift and opportunity He gave me to its fullest.

That is my mission. What is yours?

Do you have one?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Wake-up Call

"Everybody expects to get old.
Nobody expects it to happen all at once"

In early 2013, I experienced shortness of breath and a decrease in my ability to exercise. I realized I needed to get it checked out. After breathing tests, chest X-rays, poking, prodding, and listening I was diagnosed with Ideopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).

I had my wake up call. All at once I was old.

"Pulmonary" means "of the lungs". "Fibrosis" means "scarring". Pulmonary Fibrosis is a scarring and thickening of the lungs. "Ideopathic" means the cause cannot be determined.

IPF progressively reduces both lung capacity and the ability to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. The lungs are able to take in less air. At the same time, they become less able to extract oxygen and vent carbon dioxide from that air. Once lost, lung capacity is not regained. IPF is progressively fatal. There are drugs and treatments that may slow the progression but there is no cure.

So, I'm suddenly old and getting older a lot faster than I thought. I am also doing everything in my power to slow progression and preserve the capacity I have left. I take medication, breathe full time oxygen, exercise within capacity, and learn everything I can about how to deal with this disease.

Bottom line:    

I am moving slowly, but I am still moving. I plan to keep moving as long as I possibly can. 

I am doing less than I used to but I am still doing.

Some dreams are no longer within my capacity but I plan to keep chasing those that are.

IPF is what I have, not what I am. I plan to keep on keeping on as long as I can.

And that's about all one fellow can do.