Louis sat there in the doctor’s office bewildered.
“You have an incurable terminal disease.”
Did I just hear the doctor right? Thought Louis. He really was not sure. His left blind eye and blurry right eye told him he had a problem, but to hear the truth stated this way? Louis had always imagined such news would be preceded by foreboding music. I’ve spent too much time watching television. Louis joked with himself inside his mind. Why am I thinking of jokes? Shouldn’t I feel panicked? But he didn’t feel panic. Instead, Louis felt peace.
“How long?” Louis asked Dr. Sune
The doctor’s face was grave, and he responded, “Maybe five years, but probably less.”
Five years that seems like a guess. Louis thought about challenging the doctor’s timeline, but was it really an argument worth having? Instead, he quipped, “Basically, I could be taken out by a pie truck crossing the street before this disease takes me.”
Dr. Sune could not help but smile. The doctor removed his smile and asked, “Are you doing okay.”
Louis was honest in his response. “Actually, yeah. I sort of guessed this before I came in today. I did my research, and all my symptoms pointed to this rare disease. I’ve thought about it though, and last I checked, we all die sometime.”
The doctor nodded and said, “That’s true, but most of us prefer not to die young.”
Louis shrugged. The whole moment seemed surreal, much like a dream. He really should be feeling some sort of panic, but none of it bothered him. Five years really was an eternity at age thirty-two. Perhaps that was part of it. Few people died at his age, so who was to say he would? Even if it were true, his eyesight was to disappear is less than a year. Maybe it was God’s mercy to end his life early. Still, something told him not to worry.
Although Louis was not supposed to drive with his lack of eyesight he still did. Driving towards home, he considered a predicted death at his young age liberating. Everything seemed different better. The feelings were not unlike his conversion to Christianity. Creation itself seemed to come alive in those early months of his faith. Over the years life had dulled again. He was taken over by the burdens of fatherhood, and if he was honest, Louis’ own compulsions to accumulate things.
Life was different now, shorter, sweeter. His mind returned to the eternal. Louis no longer wanted to stockpile things, he desired to build memories. Memories that would continue to live past him, and be remembered by his wife and children. Louis craved to create memories for himself as well. After all, won’t my memories remain with me for eternity? He reasoned.
Louis had other motivations to hoard more memories beyond his life. He knew his sight would one day fail in the very near future, or at least that is what he was told. His eyes would record every sunset and every sunrise. Every green leaf, and every butterfly while they were still able.
Louis knew one day his sight would be healed. One day he would stand before the God who made him, the God who allowed this disease to take over his body and free his soul. When that day came, there would be no more sunsets or sunrises. Perhaps there would be trees, but would they even be the same? Louis wanted to be sure and remember the beauty God had given him in this life as well.
He arrived home and went to his backyard to sit and enjoy the view. Louis was thankful for a day off of work to contemplate his life, and thank God for all he had. Occasionally, he had to turn his head this way and that to get a good view of the magnolias and pines flourishing in his yard. He smiled and watched his children play. From this point on every day would be a blessing, and every sight a miracle. Louis thanked God for giving him a view of creation from the perspective of eternity.
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