Monday, June 23, 2008

Choose life Deuteronomy 30:19

I want someone to talk to me like Moses. Come along with common sense and set it straight.
Randi McMatthew (my most favorite songwriter)

The ancient rabbis in MidrashTanhuma (Re'eh 3) share a parable: An old man sat on a highway from which there branched two roads, one full of thorns at the beginning but level at the end, and the other level at the beginning but full of thorns and torturous at the end. So he sat at the fork of the road and cautioned passersby, saying, "Even though the beginning of this road is full of thorns, follow it, for it will turn level in the end.' Whoever sensibly heeded the old man and followed that road did get a bit weary at first, to be sure, but went on in peace and arrived in peace. Those who did not heed the old man set out on the other road and stumbled in the end. So it was with Moses, who explicitly said to Israel, ' I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life, that you and your offspring may live.'" 
And although Moses was talking of following the commandments from Sinai, and while to be really honest I would much prefer the Buddhist middle way free of both pain and thorns, I am old enough to know that sometimes what that means is that you must move the pain upfront in order to arrive in peace.
Tomorrow I go into hospital for my months of living most dangerously. Friends have blazed ahead of me with few scratches. One other hangs to life by a slender thread as I enter this post  I go forward because I have chosen life.
With thanks to Rabbi Steven Pik-Nathan


Blogger Bob & Lori said...

First --- a life unexamined is not worth living.

Second - always eat your least favorite food at the dinner table first. Makes the rest of the meal so much nicer.

Words and sentiments not as poetic as Moses. Not sure exactly why, but it seems that most enlightened people have been through some very tough times.

We are always thinking positive thoughts in your name Doc -

I wish the family living down the street with the barking dogs were in your place !!!! TeeHee - not very nice.

Be nice to the nurses - I'm telling you this is really important. They can be wonderfully helpful or downright nasty and mean.

Bob and Lori Morales

June 24, 2008 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Judy Cleri said...

Dear Dr. K,

God is working behind the sceenes in your life, today. No matter what you are facing, no matter what trial you are going through, God has a plan to turn things around in your favor. Right now, He is working out a plan for your good. He has orchestrated the right people and opportunities to come across your path. You may not see it in the natural, but look with your eyes of faith today. Keep standing strong! Keep believing! Keep hoping! Keep following his word! Focus on His goodness in your life, knowing that He rewards the people who seek Him. As you meditate on the faithfulness of God and show your love for Him by following His word, you will see His plan come to pass. You'll experience His peace and joy and you will live in victory all the days of your life.

In Gensis the first 10 names are:

Adam = Man
Seth = Appointed
Enosh = Subject to death
kenan = Sorrowful
Mahaleel = From the presence of God
Jered = One comes down
Henoch = Dedicated
Methuselah = Dying He shall send
Lamech = to the poor brought very low
Noah = Comfort or rest

I say this because:

Man, appointed, subject to death,sorrowful. From the presence of God, one comes down dedicated. Dying, He shall send to the poor brought very low, comfort or rest.

May you find comfort and rest in the presence of our Lord and savior.

Our prayers are with you and we look forward to seeing you back in DB very soon!

June 24, 2008 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Elaine said...

Brian, Happy birthday and best, best, best to you on this day. I am thinking of you as you start your new journey.


June 24, 2008 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Elaine said...


Happy Birthday! My best to you today as you start your new journey.
I wish the you greatest success.


June 24, 2008 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Happy Birthday! Your adventure is about to begin. I know you are ready and I know you will have a lot to tell us as you destroy the CLL dragon.

Your adventure WILL be awesome! I will be thinking of you daily and reading every post. Take good care of yourself. I am looking forward to that 100+ day party!

June 24, 2008 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger Laine Family said...

Dr. Koffman,

All of our prayers, strenght and positive energy are flowing to you. I know you will come through this successfully. It can't be anything else. Looking forward to seeing you back for my annual in December.

Gei gezunteheit, "go in good health" Dr. Koffman.

D.Laine & family

June 24, 2008 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger J.R. said...

Chosen well my friend. Keep strong and centered in faith. It will carry you through.

My prayers are with you as you face your journey. And thank you for your ever present instruction and demonstration of courage.

June 24, 2008 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger Simon C. said...

Hi, Brian. I just wanted to say hello. As a vegan, lover of Leonard Cohen and exotic travel. AND a recent transplant survivor, I feel we have a lot in common. I wish you all the best! I am rooting for you.

I know all transplant experiences are different but if you're ever looking for someone to talk with who's been through the journey, please contact me. Coincidentally, I also named my transplant year "my year of living dangerously."

Simon Chaitowitz

June 24, 2008 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger Simon C. said...

Brian: one more thing: I can't believe how much we have in common! I am also 56 and a June baby ;)
Will root for you over the coming weeks!

Simon Chaitowitz (Ms)
Washington, DC

June 24, 2008 at 8:18 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"If a blade of grass can grow in a concrete walk and a fig tree in the side of a mountain cliff, a human being empowered with an invincible faith can survive all odds the world can throw against his tortured soul."

- Robert H. Schuller

Keep the Faith!!! :)


June 25, 2008 at 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am assuming that life for you, before cancer, was really good, so now to be faced with such a tremendous challenge, that will contain many deep valleys, well, it has to be the most challenging thing in life that you will ever face. What you have written made me think about my own life in that it has never been easy, there has never been a "middle way free of both pain and thorns". I am not familiar with the Buddhist way, but I am very familiar with the Lord's way which has kept me going, pulling me out of the muck and mire, when life threaten to drown me yet again. God has planted my feet on solid ground. If it wasn't for Him I would no longer be a part of this world because the pain and thorns have been far to much. However, He has given me a gift in all of the pain and thorns of my life as I reach out to help others through their own crap. I hope in the days ahead that you will look to Him for strength & peace even in the darkest valleys, (Psalm 23:4) Many times, when I found myself in an extremely dark valley it was comforting to know that God walked along side me, helping me to get through it.

You have been on my mind a lot these past few days as I knew the time was approaching - and now the time has come. Both my husband and I will keep you in our prayers.

June 25, 2008 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Don DiMaggio said...

qDr.K, your life has been full of meaningfulness & significants. Eventhought i have moved to a retirement community(formally known as leisure world) i consider you the best doctor ever!!!. May G-D grant to you & your family eternal & endearing blessings. Be assured that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Don"Go Wings"DiMaggio.

June 26, 2008 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger yvonne said...

I love the pictures. Your family is
so loving and full of fun. They must
make this trying time, the best it
could be. Duane and I send our love
and prayers.

June 29, 2008 at 3:21 PM  

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