No mice, no jokes — this is about Christmas 2010.
The point of the Christmas story is that “the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.” The model of which is a young couple trekking across the dimly lit knolls and valleys to get to Bethlehem, where their baby is to be born.
Many of us have walked dark or ill-lighted roads this year. It has looked bleak for many folks in different ways.
Ten days ago, I was admitted to the Health and Science University in Portland, Ore. It is a vast medical center with physician, nursing, pharmacy, dental and other health-related educational units. It has a daytime population comparable to Tracy.
The diagnosis was renal failure.
It has been some time since I have felt good — my kidneys were shutting down, I had lost 28 pounds in two weeks, I was hallucinating, and the emergency department was suddenly the end of a dark journey.
This is about an early Christmas present.
This is about light.
Five young people, with a leader not much older, formed a team making me their project. They poked, tested, collaborated, questioned and listened.
Two days later, I awoke to a different place. No longer dark and dreary — there was, again, a road ahead.
Together, the team gave me a gift in the form of an informed guess.
I believe in all sorts of things, physical and metaphysical. I am not here to give credit or to make any theological claims. My goal is to tell a story.
It is a story with a happier ending than some. It is an ending that brings light to me, and I feel the need to reflect back that light to any who walk in any shadows today.
I do not believe in medicine, but I believe in the caring application of the human spirit. I do not believe in education alone, but I believe in seeking understanding and using it. I do not believe in luck, but I believe in tenacious creativity.
Today, on the night before Christmas, above all I feel grateful.
Next column it is back to my usual style of writing, in the same way Gary Larson draws “The Far Side.” This week is an earnest reminder that the other side may not be so far after all.
To you: Here is a wish of light and peace.
• Mike McLellan can be contacted by calling and leaving a message at 830-4231 or e-mailing him at DrMikeM@sbcglobal.net.