I finally did it. Based on the fact that everyone reading this has either had it done already or will experience the joy of doing it sometime in the future, I think it’s okay to talk about it. Katie Couric will be very, very happy with me. Yep. . . . I had my first colonoscopy this morning. Merry Christmas to me!
For those not familiar with the process that I went through over the weekend, let me tell you about it. The weekend was spent preparing for my trip to the Gastroenterologist, a trip which began at 6:15am this morning. Normally when you use the word “prepare” before the word “trip” it’s a time filled with excitement. Hmmmm. This was a little bit different. Here’s how it works. You must stay at home. Traveling is risky. Why? Because your preparation involves three things. 1) Eating nothing for a long, long time. 2) Drinking lots of everything named “water” (with a variety of special additives that all include the three letters L, A, and X somewhere in their name) for a long, long time. And 3). . . . You must stay at home. . . . because. . . . traveling is risky. Of course, taking these three preparatory steps lead to a level of excitment that keeps you awake for the entire night before the procedure. However, it’s not the excitement of anticipation, like, let’s say on the night before Christmas or before going to DisneyWorld as a kids for the very first time. Rather, it’s the opposite of another type of “. . .ipation” that keeps you moving all night. . . . moving from the bedroom to another room that starts with the letter “B.” This movement from room to room takes place because of another type of constant movement.
I’ll spare you the details of what happens when you arrive at the Doctor’s office at 6:45am. Suffice it to say that the procedure itself. . . . from the time you arrive until the time you leave. . . . is somewhat humiliating. I looked up the word “colonoscopy” in the dictionary. Webster’s got it all wrong. In my humble and now experienced opinion, the prefix “colon” is from the same Latin root word meaning “complete.” “Oscopy” is the Latin word for “loss of dignity.” Put them together and what do you got? It seems strange that we pay (thousands of dollars I might add) for this to be done to us. It’s even stranger that insurance companies finance such humiliation. And, while most medical instruments have names that don’t reveal where they are placed (stethoscope, laparoscope, duodenoscope, etc.), the instrument these folks use is named in a way that leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. . . the ENDOscope! I have no idea what my stetho is. I have no idea where my laparo is. Where is the world is my duodeno??? But then there’s the endo.
Let me get serious for a minute. I try to process all of life theologically because, after all, all of life is so flawed that the rocks, trees, hills, and yes. . . even one’s colon. . . cry out for redemption. When I got to the Doctor’s office this morning I happened to show Lisa the reading that I had brought with some other items in a little white plastic bag. On Friday night I had picked up a brand new copy of Cornelius Plantinga’s Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin. Ironically, the book’s title echoes a thought I was having during every waking moment of the preparation and procedure. Sure, I found that to be some humorous irony. But it’s actually quite true. In the book’s Intro Plantinga writes: “The whole range of human miseries, from restlessness and estrangement through shame and guilt to the agonies of daytime television – all of them tell us that things in human life are not as they ought to be.” Plantinga goes on to remind us that the shalom of God’s good creation has been vandalized by sin. Shalom is the way things ought to be. . . . universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight. Shalom is a colon without cancer, blockages, polyps, etc. It is a colon experiencing the joy and wonder of “colonhood” in God’s perfect created order. It is a colon without need of a colonoscopy. . . . ever!
While my morning was spent in a way that it was not supposed to be, I look forward to a world where my colon’s health will be perfected along with everything else in our sin-soaked creation that groans. In a very real way, what I experienced this morning is a wonderful reminder of why we should go out of our way to celebrate the coming of the Redeemer who not only gives us the hope of new life, but will eventually usher in a Kingdom so complete in its perfection that all colons will be unquestionably fine and fully without need of photographic investigation. Yes, things will be the way they are supposed to be.
Until then, I thank God for the Doctors, nurses, technicians, and other people in that room who do what they do. Before we got things going this morning I looked over my shoulder to one of the nurses who was standing strategically behind me and asked her, “What ever possessed you to take this up as a vocation?” She told me that she liked the hours and the routine. Okay. Whether she knew it or not, there’s more to what she does than that. Along with the rest of the crew, there was something happening at a deeper spiritual level. The head of the practice is a fellow believer. I know him, although he wasn’t in the room today. I know that for him his work is about bringing honor and glory to God by bringing the Kingdom order of God in some little way to be realized on this fallen sphere in people’s physical insides. That’s really what happened to me in there. Because what shouldn’t be is, an entire medical practice exists to prevent what shouldn’t be and provide for what should.
Could it be that Christmas is also about. . . . colons????