Saturday, September 28, 2013

What Is Your Sword of Damocles?

Do you ever feel like you have some fear or burden constantly hanging over your head? Maybe it steals your sleep, or serves as a constant nagging companion in your mind. We all seem to struggle with something. As I sat in my surgeon, Dr. Vaporciyan aka Rock Star's, office at MD Anderson last week, I received the great news that I was still clear of the nuisance (aka cancer)! As fabulous as that news was, my mind immediately thought, "Well, what about next time?" How sad is that?! I slid from celebrating and clapping my hands, to fretting about my next appointment. My doctor must have seen it in my eyes because he asked me a question that I want to ask you now. "Have you heard of the sword of Damocles?"

Damocles served in the court of Dionysius. Dionysius was a tyrant who lived a very extravagant life. By all appearances, he had it all. Luxury, feasts, fame and flatterers.  Damocles was one of these flatterers. To Damocles, the life of Dionysius was to be envied. He had no worries, no troubles, just the life of luxury. Damocles so frequently commented on how lucky Dionysius was, that Dionysius grew weary of hearing him say it. To give Damocles a little perspective of his "luck", he invited Damocles to experience life in his shoes. Damocles quickly accepted the offer.

Dionysius had a grand feast prepared. Damocles donned fine garments and reclined at the table enjoying the fine festivities. No doubt he felt he had found the good life. The meal was fantastic. The service delightful. Life could not be better. As he leaned back in his fine chair, something above his head captured his eye. It was a sword, hanging from the ceiling by the hair of a horse. The looming danger suddenly overshadowed the food, clothes and finery. He sat upright  in his chair and looked to Dionysius for an explanation. Dionysius quickly explained that this was what the life of a ruler was like. Damocles expediently excused himself from the table, leaving behind that which he thought he had truly desired.

There are many conclusions one could draw from that story, but the lesson for me was that I have a choice to make each day. I can focus on the feast or focus on the sword. If I focus on the feast, then I choose to pull up to the table of blessing and partake of the festival of life. But if I am not careful, my eyes may shift above my head to the sword. Although I may still be present at the feast, I cannot enjoy it, because I am in constant fear of the sword dropping. It is a conscious decision. Focus on the feast? Focus on the sword?

What is your sword of Damocles? Is it your health? Your finances? Your relationship? Your kids? Is it your list of regrets or failures? Your future? Whatever it is, it is keeping you from the feast! It is robbing you of your blessings! Life can't be spent worrying about what if the sword falls! Matthew says it this way: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-27

I have a sword over my head. You have one, too. But I have a feast to attend! Wanna go with me? I will save you a seat!

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