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If you're new to this blog and want some context for it, read this post from the day I announced my Alzheimer's disease and this post about the day I announced I had lost it. For more info, visit my website with my autobiography and all blog entries in chronological order for easier reading to catch up. There's also a sermon on the spiritual lessons I've learned through this journey through my damaged mind.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Life Changes

Washington DC

I’ve had a disquieting, indefinable sense of things being not quite right.  It’s part apathy, part a mental fuzziness, part anxiety, part a sense that I’ve not been doing my best, part a loss of confidence.  On the one hand, I’ve accepted one, possibly two new engagements to speak with students and I think my class this afternoon with the interns will go well.  At the same time I’m anxious about both of those things.  I feel like I’m wasting time, yet I’m not sure how I could have been more efficient.

Perhaps it’s mostly loss of confidence.  I want to update both my own website and Eighth Day’s (which I manage), yet I’m a little scared that I won’t be able to handle the update and will have wasted the $1000 that it will probably cost.  I’m not sure; I can’t define this feeling well.

I want to spend a lot more time with my family over the next couple of years, both my children and my siblings.  Because of the long distances involved, it will mean fairly long absences from Eighth Day, and I’m wondering about what that will mean for the level of my participation in the community.

If I think of it, taking time with family really isn’t negotiable so the real question is which church responsibilities to let go.  Recently, as we talked during our weekly coffee, Fred affirmed the priority of visiting family, which is certainly my desire. 

My life has changed dramatically; I and others will have to expect significant changes in what I do with the time that I have left.

Fred and I also talked about making good use of the time that I have here.  He said that part of his theology is that “nothing is wasted.”  What I understand from what he said is that any experience can become, in Garrison Keillor’s word, “material.”  That is, I can take whatever I’ve been given and use it for good in the world.  I’m certainly hoping that I can do that.  I’m hoping, for instance, that my experience with this disease can give young people a different perspective on this aspect of aging.  They don’t, of course, think much of their own dying and I would imagine that Alzheimer’s is at the top of their list of horrible ways to die.  So if the young people in my classes, at church, and perhaps at medical schools or colleges, will allow me to enter their lives a little bit, I might be able to do some good.

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