Two days ago, I began a Christmas story that came from my book Bryson City Seasons (Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 here). This is the last of three parts. I hope it’s been a Christmas blessing. And I pray you and yours have a Christ-centered, warm-memory-creating, family-filled Christmas and a Blessed New Year.
Evan’s autopsy report confirmed the pneumonia—but blamed it on a bacterium I had never treated before—Pneumocystis carinii.
The report also confirmed multi-organ failure and a form of skin cancer—Kaposi’s sarcoma—but said the cancer was confined only to his skin.
Evan had not died of cancer. I now know he had died of a disease that was then unnamed—HIV/AIDS.
Evan was my first patient with this horrible disease. But, he was also the first patient with whom I shared my personal faith so forthrightly. Looking back over a long career in family medicine, Evan’s case and his decision represented one of my most memorable moments.
But, what his autopsy did not show—and could not show—was that Evan died a new man—spiritually. He had become a friend of God. He had been born as a son of God on the day we celebrated the birth of the Son of God. And, his life actually began the morning of the day it ended.
During that Christmas, at the beginning of my family and professional life, I learned a valuable lesson: all Christmases can be a time of beginning and a time of renewal—a time when we each commit or recommit our belief, our devotion, our service, our gifts and our very lives to the baby born in that manger, sent to be a perfect model of love, who humbly sacrificed his life on our behalf that we could have eternal life starting here on earth by become sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven.
Amen and Merry Christmas.
If you’d like to learn more about beginning a personal relationship with God, check out my blog on the topic here. This may be the most important blog I’ve ever written.
Also, here’s more information on the entire Bryson City series:
- Bryson City Tales: Stories of a Doctor’s First Year of Practice in the Smoky Mountains – signed hardcover edition available here, signed soft cover here, and/or read a sample chapter here.
- Bryson City Seasons: More Tales of a Doctors Practice in the Smoky Mountains – signed hardcover edition available here, signed soft cover here, and/or read a sample chapter here.
- Bryson City Secrets: Even More Tales of a Small-Town Doctor in the Smoky Mountains – hardcover edition NOT available, but signed soft cover available here, and/or read a sample chapter here.