“Olive Orchard” (1889) by Vincent van Gogh
By Hendrik van der Breggen
The Carillon, October 4, 2018
Dear Carillon readers, today’s installment of my column will be my last—at least for the foreseeable future.
Permit me to explain. This summer I was diagnosed with a serious health condition, and I have been experiencing some memory loss, confusion, and periods of extreme exhaustion. These symptoms may be due to a medication I have been prescribed (which was halted last week), or not. My doctor is figuring this out. The seriousness of the health condition remains.
Presently I am still functional in my work as a professor, but this is a struggle. And I am not sure how long I can persist. But I do know this: To go on, I must lighten my load.
When my health issues first began, Carillon editor Grant Burr was gracious in allowing me to reduce the rate of my column’s installments to once a month, but in the last weeks I’ve found that this is even too much for me. At least at present.
I hereby tentatively end my ten years of writing Apologia (it’s hard to believe that my first column appeared in the Carillon on August 7, 2008!). I thank my readers for bearing with me.
I have enjoyed doing research for this column, and I have appreciated my critics for helping me (and readers) get clearer on what’s true and good and beautiful.
The idea of “shrinking back” from the intellectual-spiritual battles that I’ve been engaged in troubles me, but, at the same time, I realize I simply need to back off, at least for a while.
I hope to be able to continue with this column someday in the future, when/if good health returns. If not, I trust God will call others to stand in the gap.
Confession: For many years I have had a secret plan (well, maybe a not-so-secret plan) of someday becoming a full-time newspaper columnist. Now I am reminded of the first line of the first scene of the (excellent) film Bella: “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”
I would add: if you still remember them.
Plans or no plans, remembered or not, I take comfort in the reality of the God who is there and who has revealed Himself in Jesus, God become flesh, the God who truly loves us, always.
I also take comfort in Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil.
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Hendrik van der Breggen, PhD, is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Providence University College. The previous 10 years of Hendrik’s Apologia column are available online at Hendrik’s blog: https://hendrikvanderbreggen.com. If Hendrik cannot resist writing his columns, he will post them on his blog.

UPDATE (December 2, 2018): Thanks to all who have sent me kind words and prayed on my behalf. I am happy to report that the memory loss and confusion were (apparently) due to a medication I was taking, which my doctor has halted. I’m not out of the woods yet, health-wise, but things are better than they were. Thank you again. God is good.

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