It is amazing how life can change in an instant. I went for my dental appointment, and all was as usual: well except one filling had a crack in it. (Given its age, not surprising.) But they had me do an x-ray in which I stood with my mouth holding onto a section, tongue planted at the roof of my mouth, while the machine rotated around my head. An x-ray, but more than what I was used to: simple inserts being put uncomfortably in my mouth, I hold still, it zaps a picture, and that one is done. This one took in the whole head, not just the teeth. Result: a visible large black mass where it should not be. Also a hidden “wisdom tooth” buried deep: maybe the mass was simply “moss” that had grown around it. No pain, no interference, but never the less, a mass that was not matched on the other side.

I am now scheduled for first an analysis by specialists, then surgery in a hospital to remove whatever it is. Cancer? Or just a cyst? I have had a LOT of basil-cell cancer. But it is unlikely to be basil-cell, given its location. So it is either very bad, or an irritant that needs to be removed then monitored, but that is all. Either way, I will be out of commission for a bit in terms of talking and preaching, since it is behind my left jaw bone. Worst case scenario: I will be permanently disfigured and disabled.

Why is the jaw worse? When the basil cell was all on my scalp, it was horrendous, but both not disfiguring, just embarrassing as I went through my bald phase. Sores on the head were covered by a beanie. I looked normal, albeit bald, wearing a beanie. But jaw work? That is something very different.

Easter: the reality of both suffering and death, AND the unexpected – resurrection. I am facing both. I have to admit my mind is mostly on the fear, the negative – the dark mass. But then there is Easter to counter-balance.

On Easter I will continue a decades-long tradition. I will bake a chicken in a clay Dutch-oven, make a green-bean casserole, and watch Ben Hur, with Charleston Heston. He was made a galley slave, unjustly. His mother and sister were imprisoned and got leprosy, unjustly. Yet they persisted in living, and miracles occurred. Those miracles did not cancel out the past, but made the present and future all the more dear. The darkness was real. But so was the light, which the darkness could NOT overcome.