Thursday, 19 September 2013
Rules Are Made To Be Broken
In the grand scheme of things, I have never been much of a rule breaker, or maybe a more accurate portrayal is that I have never considered myself to be much of a rule breaker. But today, I found myself in a battle of wills. It is the battle of Doctor Vs Stari. Do I do what the doctor has said or do what I want to do. It is a battle I have faced many times before, but today was different. This is day 55 post transplant, and my health has improved dramatically since day 1. I'm at the stage where my neutroblinkits and my lymphoblankits are within the normal range. This rapid recovery has been unexpected as you would normally expect to see these kind of results closer to the day 100 mark. So the docs say, even though my counts are up, I should still avoid crowds of people until day 100. Now here's the dilemma. My counts could probably manage crowds but the docs are stating the guidelines to me. I wont to go out, but I don't want to go out just to end up back in hospital. I want to go out but its been such a long time since I've been out on my own that I'm actually scared of going out in case something happens to me.
So this is the debate that I had in my head today which you are privy to. "I want to go to the post office and the shop. But it's raining. You have a coat and an umbrella and your skin is waterproof. But am I allowed to get on the bus? There are people on the bus. There are people in the hospital where you go twice a week you plonker! Does my new bus pass give me free travel or reduced travel? Just ask the driver. But I don't want to look stupid. You are stupid! Plus the students have arrived and they will undoubtedly look more stupid than you when it comes to bus travel. Maybe I should walk? But it's quite far and I've not walked that distance outside in 'harsh' terrain before. Ok. Compromise. Take the bus at a time when its quite there and back. If you see anyone who is 'diseased' slyly cover your nose and mouth with hand or scarf, turn your back and remember to sanitise when you get home. Sounds like a plan. Oh. Wait. The school kids are about to be let out. They are little bug incubators, who knows what their harbouring! Plan foiled. Maybe I'll go tomorrow. Or maybe not. Tomorrow is clinic day. Sigh.
Like most people I would take risks if I didn't have much to lose, but I do not enjoy taking risks when the stakes are high. When I watch Deal or No Deal on the telly I always find myself giving in at least two or three box opens than the optimum value. In this situation, the stakes are very high for me. Under no circumstances do I wish to go back into hospital as an inpatient. But am losing out? Am I being over cautious? Am I encouraging behaviour in me that is so risk adverse it is unhealthy? One of the great blessings about living with people is that they can keep an eye on me. Even though they feel like they are being overbearing, I receive it with good will and it is definitely needed. I have come to realise, albeit slowly, that my judgement is impaired. To have have someone advise me takes away the stress of having to logically work it out and arrive at the wrong conclusion. It is easy to start to believe that the docs make these rules out of spite or even just to make their own lives easier. This thought pattern reminds me of how a child responds when the law is laid down by a parent. But the parent does so out of love, even if that does mean disciplining/punishing the child. Maybe this is what I should remind myself when I have these debates in my head.
When it comes to rules, there are some that I know inherently to follow and some that I think I can get away with bending. I think this is true for all people, the only difference is where the boundary lines are set. For example, I know not to murder because inherently, I know it is wrong. However, some people do not hold the same view and so they murder; they don't think or maybe they don't care that it is wrong. I once saw a broadcasted interview of an american young adult who was fanatic about the Nazis and declared, in foul language, that all the Jews should be killed. This same person was then asked if he thought he was a good person and he said yes. My point is that we judge good and bad by our own standards and commonly compare ourselves to others saying at least I've never killed anyone, that makes me better than them.
I would say, and I think most people would also confirm, that I am a good person. However, the following examples might cast a shadow of doubt in your mind. When I see the sign in the library that says no talking and no food and drink, I can safely say that I have broken that rule many more times than I have obeyed it. This doesn't seem so bad when you compare it with a rule like murder, however, its morality takes an interesting twist when the motives are exposed. So why don't I follow this rule? I guess its because I'm selfish and don't care if I disturb others and, even though I always tidy up after myself, who cares if the cleaners have to hover up a few extra crumbs? So basically, it comes down to the fact that I'm selfish. That doesn't really paint me in a good light. Surely a good person isn't selfish? I tell lies, but that is to keep the peace or protect myself. No, it's because I'm a coward and proud and wont tell the truth because it causes trouble for me. But what about the odd white lie? Surely that isn't so bad, in fact, I'm protecting the other person. Well, proverbs 27:6 says that "faithful are the wounds of a friend; but kisses of an enemy are deceitful". When you think about that properly, you know its true. It is better to tell someone kindly the truth, than allow them to be continually deceived. I lack integrity and humility; surely these are not the characteristics of being a good person? But I'm just human. That's just another way of saying I'm just bad. The truth hurts.
The point is that even though people perceive me to be good, probably by the things that I do, I am not a good person. For the sake of argument, say we go down the path of good deeds outweigh bad deeds, bearing in mind that motives and thoughts are counted becauses they are part of us and they are the predecessor to action; then if my good deeds outweigh the bad then I'm good. I would suggest, however, that no matter how saintly I behave, my bad deeds will always outweigh my good deeds by a magnitude to the nth degree. Even if you only weighed the number of lies I have spoken, not the ones I've thought about, in my life, they would still outweigh all the good things I have thought and done.
Good and bad is not relative to each other nor is is it relative to other people. Take a spotless immaculate white sheet of paper. Even if the smallest drop possible of blank ink were to fall on it, it would no longer be the spotless immaculate white it once was. But it's not as bad as that other piece of paper that is almost completely black. The other paper isn't white and my paper with one spot isn't white. White is white; it is not relative. White is the set unmovable standard.
So we're all bad who break rules out of selfish ambition no matter what the cost is to others. Is that what I'm saying? There's no point beating around the bush, the answer is yes. This is how God sees us. But there is hope, you don't have to keep hold of your damaged white paper. When you believe God, Jesus will replace your damaged white paper for His immaculate white paper, every time it is damaged or you damage it yourself. When God looks at you, He will not see what you have done, but what Jesus has accomplished for you on the Cross thereby enabling you to be spotless in the sight of God. This is the Good News of the Bible.