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“A cheerful heart is a good medicine.” (Prv 17:22)

Dear Family and Friends,

I learned a few things today:

1) Contrary to all my prior experience, it rains in Ireland.  I was completely caught off guard after 2 sunny and warm days.

2) It is possible to have a great time even with rain whipping in one’s face.  I learned this from my 4 year-old Lulu.  We were walking to see the ruins of the Gallarus Oratory on the Dingle Peninsula, and the rain was coming in sideways.  Soaked except for the minimal good our rain jackets were doing, she was just walking alongside me holding my hand and smiling delightedly to herself.  This girl chooses to be happy in most situations.  I have taken to asking her frequently if she’s in a good mood, but in a tone as though I’ve caught her doing something that might be funny or embarrassing.  She blushes and chuckles, gives a sigh and a coy “yes”, and then I usually get a hug.  Through this cancer episode, my formula has been to try to follow the example of my 4 year-old because she is incomparable in her cheerfulness.

I need to do so much better at being cheerful with loved ones, colleagues, and strangers.  And I know better.  I frequently return to the works of a spiritual writer who gives the encouragement that it has much much more value to be intentionally cheerful in difficult situations, with people we don’t like working with, or when we are tired.

3) Work done with love stands the test of time.  This is the Gallarus Oratory I mentioned.

It is one of the oldest churches in Western Europe, and might be as much as 1200 years old.  It is made of irregularly shaped stones fitted masterfully into a structure that is beautiful for its simplicity and symmetry.  And except for one small drip from the ceiling, the interior was dry on the inside – after perhaps 360,000 Irish rainstorms.  The monks who built it put love and tremendous care into making a worthy offering to God.  They took the time to do it right the first time – something Kendra and I are always on the kids’ case about.  It’s humbling to consider that nothing in my professional work is likely to endure more than a few years past my time on this earth.  Those monks were heroic in the perfection of their work.  Here’s hoping I can use this example to improve my work products.

4) I noticed another way I’m feeling great.  Kendra asked me how my lungs are feeling, and I realized that up until last week’s infusions, I had been living with a very slight but nagging wheezy cough since late fall.  Now I don’t know if the cough was just seasonal cough/cold/flu or if it’s related to the cancer.  And I don’t know if its disappearance is related to the immunotherapy, but here’s hoping this is an indication that the drugs are working.  I’m breathing better than I have in months.

With fortitude and prayers for you,