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Sabbaths and Week 3s

The best laid plans of mice, men and ministers go awry, that is just the way of things.  My grand plan for how to use my ordinary time went out of the metaphorical window when the cold/infection struck last week.  Whilst I am now much better, I still have a cough and limbs made of lead, and my good intentions need to be rediscovered.  Ah well. As my old boss used to say there's a difference between 'plans' and 'planning'... I think I kind of get what he meant.

Technically I am in a 'week 3' - although I reached the top of Mt Chemo on 31st December I don't formally finish being in the last cycle until Thursday/Friday.  I would have to say I am glad this is the only week 3 where I have felt below par because they are actually a precious time during the climb.  So far as I can ascertain, almost all chemo regimes have week 3 "off".  It is a 'rest week' during which no drugs are given and the patient's body is not being bombarded by weird and wonderful effects: no dips in energy, taste buds recover, aches go away, blood can start to recover... time to enjoy a bit of 'normality.'  Certainly I found my other 'week 3' experiences to be good, albeit interrupted by consultant appointments and with the knowledge that the next 'bend' was imminent; time to do things I wanted to do and have a few treats.  Early in the process I found a research paper, I think from France, of a clinical trial that had attempted to remove 'week 3'.  It had proved a disaster and had been abruptly halted as all, or almost all, patients became sick... the rest is needed not a luxury.  So it's a bit like a Sabbath then...

I had already decided I would post about this today before I listened to today's PAYG which centred on Mark 2:23 - 28 and notably "the sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath" (Mk2: 27 NRSV).  The reflection was to a large extent about legalism and the risk of missing the point.  I found this intriguing at a time when I am sure that strict rule-following has kept me both safe and well.  Where is the line to be drawn?  I am looking forward in the next few weeks to beginning to relax some of the restrictions as they become redundant (though some new ones will replace them!) but that's not the same as bending or breaking the rules.  It's really easy to see the legalism in the extremes cited in the gospels but not so easy to work out the fuzzy line in our own time.

Week 3s and Sabbaths are given for the benefit of the humans, they are there for rest, restoration, relaxation not for angst, anxiety and ascetic-abstention.  This week will include one or two treats, especially as a former nurse has assured me that chocolate is good for coughs, but it will also adhere to the sensible rules that keep me healthy.  I have a suspicion the same principle applies to Sabbaths too.

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