Dr Pamela Prince Pyle

Living on Borrowed Time

I had the privilege this past month to have a zoom call with one of the good folks that follow my Facebook page. I had noticed Jim’s words of wisdom to another follower regarding his faith. He also shared that he was living on borrowed time. I was intrigued to meet the gentleman with the long white beard reminiscent of Phil on Duck Dynasty. 

Jim shared the stark reality of a doctor giving him the news about his diagnosis. The words meant nothing to him until his research on the internet delivered the grim reality of a disease that is terminal. Shock ensued and he was forced to face the unknown without the wisdom of a trusted clinician. 

It would take time to see a specialist to confirm the stark truth. Medication was available that could possibly help or may give him some extra time. Would the potential benefits outweigh the risk? How do you decide with so many variables that are vague in clarity? 

Jim was given a booklet that he thoroughly evaluated and prayed for the answer. After a month he chose not to take the medication. He is now experiencing life one year after his life expectancy with taking the medicine. Yes, he was living on borrowed time, and he was making the most of it. 

Dr. Billy Graham, the great evangelist, often asked the question, “Are you prepared to die?” In February, I wrote about the three preparations needed:

  • Is your soul prepared to die?
  • Is your mind prepared to die?
  • Is your body prepared to die?

The most important of the three is the first and each person must seek their own answer. 

If you don’t know this answer, review my recent posts discussing the soul, what it is and why it is the most important consideration.

We are going to use Jim’s story to initiate the topics of the last two questions. Let’s begin from the perspective of the person who has just received a serious diagnosis as Jim did six years ago.

Chaos and Fear

Jim’s story parallels the experience of many who first hear words such as cancer, ALS, progressive, incurable, palliative care, hospice care, comfort care, death, and I’m very sorry. Individuals and families can first be comforted by the knowledge they are not alone in what seems like a tornado of new words, new experiences, new sufferings, and new courage.

Regardless of culture, ethnicity, financial status, or faith, facing death is the great equalizer. This common destiny is often ignored until our own mortality or brushes with the mortality of others, demands our attention. Chaos and Fear are inevitable when a serious diagnosis enters the realm of our reality for the first time.

Chaos is multiplied when one finds themselves ill-equipped to consider their own mortality in the face of a serious diagnosis. As the patient we will hear multiple voices, opinions, and lamentations which will cloud our journey with chaos unless we clarify that our voice is the only voice which matters. We can rely upon our carefully chosen healthcare proxy to speak for us when we are no longer able.  

Chaos can be mitigated with adequate planning for the expected and unexpected. Fear may be your companion for quite some time. Ultimately, the final paradigm shift of health occurs. You have been told there is no further therapy and quality becomes more important than quantity. Fear either consumes you at this point, or dissipates, and the earthly traveler fights against the unknown abyss, or walks steadily forward to faith fulfilled. 

Preparing your mind to die begins with understanding the reality of death brings clarity to life. The truth is we are each on a collision course with death and it is one hundred percent fatal.

Living With the End in Mind is meant for everyone, not only for patients and families facing a serious illness. It equips for the practical to help you cope, but its greatest value is in bringing hope. Regardless of health status, we all need hope! It comes through Anticipating Heaven and the hope we have in Jesus Christ. 

Pay It Forward

Jim from our opening story was offering hope and I hope you take a moment to visit our YouTube page to hear his story in his own words. He is using his life story and his suffering journey filled with hope to encourage the next person who needs it. He is paying it forward. 

When his story began with the doctor who gave him a diagnosis without wisdom, he was forced to face chaos and fear alone with Dr. Google. He didn’t have a trusted clinician or even a clinician in whom he wanted to learn trust. Therefore, the next post is focused on preparing your mind and identifying qualities of good doctors followed by ways to help find them.

Living on Borrowed Time

Living on borrowed time

Paid a penny, owe a dime

Counting days, months pass

Dust upon the hourglass

Allotted days known by One

Christ I claim till I am done.

Pamela Prince Pyle

“You have decided the length of our lives.
 You know how many months we will live,
  and we are not given a minute longer.”

Job 14:5 New Living Translation

3 Responses

  1. Jim is a friend of mine and he is being modest in how God is using him. Rather than living in self pity Jim has decided to use the time he has to do God’s work.
    He sang the song God gave him, “Lord Take My Hand” at a little country church and if memory serves me correctly four children came forward to be saved.
    In the late Summer of 2023 Jim was given the leading from the Lord to start a “Music on the Porch” ministry every Saturday morning on his porch. Every Saturday morning until the weather no longer permitted, Jim led a group of men in praising Jesus through sharing songs and testimonies. That was a blessing.
    No doubt Jim’s diagnosis has brought him closer to God and has allowed God to use Jim in ways God never would have been able to before.
    Jim is making the most of The Long Goodbye

  2. Thank you so much for this insight into Jim. No doubt he is an “old soul and deep well”. I look forward to knowing him better. Bill, could you spread the word about this website and invite your friends and family to sign up for the blog subscription. Spiritual Comfort and Practical Wisdom to help you navigate an illness, care tips for caregivers, hope for the suffering, and plans that the healthy person should consider now.
    Thank you so much!

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