Sorry for the lack of posting. Part of it is due to technical difficulties on my end – for some reason a big entry got lost – and part of it is due to some hard days. I wrote about this in that lost entry on Thursday…here I go again… perhaps less emotionally.
One of the reasons for the midweek lag in blogging was simply that I felt sick at the end of my last round of drugs. Far bigger than that, however, was news that a dear friend has been diagnosed with ALS – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This is one of the most emotionally devastating things I’ve ever seen.
ALS is such a brutal disease. Our friend is such a gentle man. ALS cripples the body while leaving the mind perfectly intact. Our friend loves to dance.
It is that image that sticks jaggedly in my mind – it is a living compound fracture if there are such things. I just see my friend and his wife, a woman who is family to us, dancing and dancing and dancing. Dancing at birthday parties and at New Year’s celebrations; dancing on happy Saturday nights, just dancing.
And then I think of the disease and what it does – often so quickly. Hands, feet, limbs, devoid of life; breathing ever more labored as the lungs shut down; difficulty in swallowing; to the point where it is, perhaps only the eyelids that move. There is no dancing.
What makes it worse somehow is that our friend and his wife have worked so hard to get where they are now. They came to America 15-years ago to build a better future. They have scraped and worked and done the right things – they are such good people. This is such a brutal disease.
All I can think over and over again is how truly and completely unfair this is.
I guess it is my own experience with a brain tumor over these last four years that makes me so much more sensitive to his experience now. I know what it is like to have a completely out of the blue diagnosis that levels you. I know what it is like to deal with mortality and fear and faith and imagination and everything else simultaneously. And I want none of this for my friend. I don’t want him to have to think of such things. I don’t want him dealing with these things – his life has been hard enough already. His disease is so awful.
My mother is 75-years-old and I talked to her about his a few nights ago. She talked about suffering and about faith and about the mystery of it all. Having lived through the Depression and World War II as a child and plenty of hurts of her own during these years she knows what she is talking about. She directed me back to the Psalms – to the very Psalms she read me as a child – and to their wrestling with God over just such things. And to their repeated conclusion that God could be trusted; that God was good; that the God who knows the sparrows knows each of us as well; that God knows his angels and that God knows my friend named Angel.
Please pray for him. Pray for a miracle – that he might be healed; that doctors might find a cure; that he and his wife Patricia would have this cup taken from them…but if not that they would be given the strength to bear the cup because it is such a heavy cup to bear.