Virtue of the Week: Suffering a Cause

Strength is born in the deep silence of long-suffering hearts; not amid joy.

Dear Friends,
First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you who has been praying for my health. Your prayers have made all the difference. I love you all.

My health status is as follows.

Last Monday, I underwent liver transplant surgery at OHSU. The surgery lasted about 8 hours. I have a new liver that Doctors say is functioning beautifully. That’s the good news. Now the bad news….(such is the story of my life these last 6 years).

Doctors think that I may have contracted cancer from the donor liver. If that wasn’t enough, during a routine biopsy of my old liver they found another previously undiagnosed cancer. They are running all kinds of tests now, but as of yet, have not been able to identify what kind of cancer it is. Once they figure that out, then they will develop an action plan to battle the cancer(s).

I feel better, I look better, and am in the road to recovery. I thank God for every day he is giving me and I will use every minute I have left on this earth to serve Him.

Again……Please keep me in your prayers.
Coach T

Non nobis solum nati sumus

Non nobis solum nati sumus (English: Not unto ourselves alone are we born) is a Latin motto. It means that people should contribute to the general greater good of humanity, apart from their own interests and more often than not, those contributions should be done with some suffering. Ideally to suffer a cause that is bigger than ones self. The motto is derived from a sentence in Cicero’s most influential philosophical work, his treatise On Duties (Latin: De Officiis). In full, Cicero writes, non nobis solum nati sumus ortusque nostri partem patria vindicat, partem amici (“We are not born, we do not live for ourselves alone; our country, our friends, have a share in us”). The sentence, as Cicero himself says, is a literal translation of a sentiment from Plato’s Letter to Archytas. Cicero associates this concept with the Stoic ideal that all men have a natural kinship with all other men and need to “contribute to the general good by an interchange of acts of kindness. The motto is used by numerous organizations, including schools and military units.

What a waste!

In his excellent book, Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper tells about Ruby Eliason and Laura Edwards, who died in April, 2000, in Cameroon, West Africa. Ruby was over eighty, had been single all her life, and had spent her life making the gospel known among the unreached, poor, and sick. Laura was a widow, a medical doctor, pushing eighty, who served with Ruby in Cameroon. Their brakes failed, the car went over a cliff, and they both were killed instantly. Piper asks, “Was that a tragedy? Two lives, driven by one great passion, namely, to be spent in unheralded service to the perishing poor —even two decades after most of their American counterparts had retired to throw away their lives on trifles.” He answers, “No, that is not a tragedy. That is a glory. These lives were not wasted. And these lives were not lost. Their suffering for a cause had inspired thousands.

He continues, “I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider a story from the February 1998 edition of Readers Digest, which tells about a couple who ‘took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast … when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they
cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells When Piper first read that, he thought that it was a joke, a spoof on the American dream. But it wasn’t. Rather, this was the dream: “Come to the end of your life—your one and only precious life, —and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells. Picture them before their Creator at the great day of judgment:
“Look, Lord. See my sea shells.”

“ Lord, look at all my softball trophies.”

Piper concludes, “That is a tragedy.” He rightly urges, “Don’t buy it [that golfing, fishing, traveling, tinkering in the yard version of the American retirement dream]. Don’t waste your life.” Suffer a cause! Get out there and serve others. Make this a better world before you are gone!