I had two shocks this week. The first from Dr. Jerry Muskat, my optometrist. I explained to him why I had not been taking all the diabetes medicine prescribed by Dr. Vucescu, my GP/Gerontologist, because it upsets my insides. “But don’t worry,” I told him, “I’m walking twice as far every day, so my A1C test will come out the same way.” He thought for a while and then said, “Here’s an idea; why don’t you talk to her about it?” Well, I can’t do that, because I don’t have another appointment with her for months.
Then quite by accident today, I was scrolling through some notes and found one that said I have an appointment with her in LESS than one month! Wait, what? I thought it was 6 or 7 months yet. Oh, gosh, what if I fail the test?
Every once in a while I am reminded of something I should have learned a long time ago, but have found in consciousness only recently: the purpose of healthy living—exercising, eating good stuff, not eating bad stuff, etc—is not just to pass the tests.
The problem comes from staying too long in school. I spent 22 years in school full-time, supplemented by dozens of hour-long and day-long and occasionally week-long episodes of education for one thing or another. And lots of years ministering to people in schools.
So I think that the purpose of life is passing tests. The student anthem: “Will this be on the test?”
I eat all the wrong stuff until I know it’s going to show up on my A1C blood sugar test. I walk only half as far as I should until a cholesterol test gets close. After all, that particular piece of cake, and that hour in front of the TV instead of out walking—they won’t be on the test.
We’ve done that for centuries religiously. You live right, doing the good, health-giving things of life, not in order to live well and be a part of the world’s love instead of a part of the world’s hate, but in order to pass the test St. Peter gives you at the gates of heaven.
No, the purpose of life, along the way or at the end, is not to pass the test. The purpose of life is to live. But I don’t think this particular cookie is going to show up on… Wait, what?
John Robert McFarland