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A Note about My Health
And how I am finding inspiration in the face of adversity.
I have some hard news to share.
I recently had a seizure. After undergoing tests, I was diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer (although I have never smoked) that has spread to my brain. The average life expectancy of those with my condition is very short.
I am grateful that I found my way back to Jesus Christ before I knew I was ill.
And I am choosing to regard this affliction, not as cause for despair, but as a challenge and opportunity to serve and glorify God, whatever may come.
If I am to suffer, decline, and die soon from this disease after a relatively short life (I’m 45 years old) filled with blessings, then I will face that lot with as much fortitude and serenity as I can muster. And I will hope and pray that such an end will be a testament to others (especially my family) of the strengthening power of faith in and devotion to God.
Yet, I am also not resigning myself to perishing from this malady. Life in this world is a precious gift and a holy mission. I will not disdain that gift nor forsake that mission. With the help of my family, friends, and health care providers, I will strive to beat the odds and heal so I can serve God, my two young daughters, my wife, my extended family, my colleagues, my community, my students, my readership, and my audience, in this world with this body as well and as long as I can.
No matter what the survival rates say, if God wills it, He can heal me. He can do anything.
I choose to see this ordeal as a trial and this trial as a blessing. It has pushed me to get my act together in many ways: instilling in me greater intentionality and discipline with regard to my diet (I’m finally going keto, which a growing number of doctors say is powerful against cancer), exercise, family, work, and faith. I hope and pray that such improvement will continue, making me a better father, husband, son, brother, colleague, friend, and steward of my body and soul. I hope and pray that such character growth will help me conquer the very disease that prompted it. And in any case, I am grateful for the peace that following God’s ways more closely has given me.
And my illness has made my job at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), not less important, but even more vital to me as a saving source of meaning and purpose. Economic truth, like all truth, is part of God’s truth. And our God-given rights are part of God’s law. So, I regard sharing the truth about economics and liberty as literally the Lord’s work and as my calling. I resolve to pursue my vocation as ardently and as long as I can.
In so resolving, I take inspiration and encouragement from one of my heroes: the French economist and political philosopher Frédéric Bastiat. Bastiat died of tuberculosis at age 49 on Christmas Eve of 1850. In that last illness-wracked year of his life, Bastiat managed to write three masterpieces that would become timeless and massively influential classics: That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Not Seen, Economic Harmonies, and The Law.
In That Which Is Seen…, Bastiat told the Parable of the Broken Window. This work would later serve as the inspiration for another classic: Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt, a founding trustee of FEE.
In Economic Harmonies, Bastiat wrote:
“Newton, after he had discovered the law of gravity, never spoke the name of God without uncovering his head. As far as intellect is above matter, so far is the social world above the physical universe that Newton revered; for the celestial mechanism is unaware of the laws it obeys. How much more reason, then, do we have to bow before the Eternal Wisdom as we contemplate the mechanism of the social world in which the universal mind of God also resides (mens agitat molem), but with the difference that the social world presents an additional and stupendous phenomenon: its every atom is an animate, thinking being endowed with that marvelous energy, that source of all morality, of all dignity, of all progress, that exclusive attribute of man—freedom!”
Economic Harmonies almost certainly helped inspire yet another classic: I, Pencil by Leonard E. Read, the founder of FEE.
And in The Law, Bastiat wrote of freedom as:
“…the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate).”
I cannot promise to be anywhere near as prolific, eloquent, or influential as such a giant as Bastiat. But, I can stand on his shoulders and do my best, however long my own lungs and brain continue to be serviceable, to emulate his example by contemplating and explaining the divinely wondrous workings of the social world and by proclaiming the principle of freedom: all in service of God and humanity, both of which Bastiat so clearly loved.
And I can make the most of whatever time I have left with my family and do my utmost to be around to finish raising and educating my daughters, to share the gospel with them, to walk them down the aisle at their weddings, and to know and serve my grandchildren.
Thank you to everyone who has prayed for, supported, and expressed concern for me and my family. It means so much to me.
Update, August 28, 2023: Yesterday, my friend and former boss Richard Lorenc kindly set up a crowdfunding campaign on GiveSendGo for me and my family. We would be deeply grateful for any support anyone can offer.
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