Bone For Bone

I know God wants us to love everyone. I don’t know about you, but many times I have found it easier to love someone I share blood with. Yesterday that proved once again to be true for me. I met a cousin I have known all of his life. Or I guess I should say I have known about him. I believe I have met him only once. That was many years ago when he was just a child. We have had no contact up until a couple of years ago when out of the blue, he called me. Ever since that call, we have kept in touch. Through those random touches, we have learned about each other. I had come to know a few main things….I love him, we both love of writing and we both have lived with adversity. He and his sweet wife living as missionaries in China and adopting children. Me living with the ever increasing challenges of Parkinson’s disease.

Yesterday, my wife and I had the privilege of having lunch with him and his wife. It was like meeting someone you have known your whole life for the first time. My wife and I felt our kinship with him and his wife immediately. The short time we were able to spend together was wonderful.

As we drove away from the restaurant, they back to their home in Georgia and us to our home just down the street, I found myself thanking God for them and allowing us to get together.

Proverbs 17:17 says,

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

It’s the same for cousins.

Even though my cousin and I have only seen each other twice in our lives, bone for bone we are the same. Bones get tired and they have trouble carrying all the weight.

I have felt him helping me carry my weight of Parkinson’s and it’s my hope he has felt me carry some of his weight.

Bone for bone and blood for blood we are the same.

I Dream of Movement

Almost every night of my life, I have had dreams. Some I remember only for a few moments. Some I remember for an hour or so. Some I never forget.

I received my diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease 10 years ago. I have continued to dream. Most of my dreams are pleasant. Some are strange. I rarely have nightmares. In all my dreams, I have never had Parkinson’s. I always move and function normally. The closest I have come to having a problem moving in a dream is one dream I had when I was a child. I was being chased by a bear and I could only move in slow motion…( reminds me of what it feels like to have Parkinsons ). Other than that, I have always dreamt of movement. One of the insidious aspects of Parkinson’s for me is that when I wake up in the morning, for a few moments I will lay in bed and remember my dream of unincumbered movement. For a few minutes each day, I forget I have this terrible disease. Then I move. That’s when all the realities come flooding back. I remember all the pain, trembling, shuffled steps, slurred speech, choking, pills. I remember all the things I use to do that I am now unable to do. It all comes rushing back into the reality of my life. Then I slowly and painfully go through the arduous task of getting out of bed to confront all of the challenges this life of sickness has in store for me.

But I thank God that despite the normalcy my dreams of movement are keeping alive, I am still able to get up in the morning. Thankful that I can still find joy and fulfillment in discovering new ways of traveling this path neither He or I would have chosen for me. Thankful for the joy of loving and being loved by a great wife, great family and friends, and a great God.

I Have Joy

I started writing this blog because I have Parkinson’s disease. I thought it may be interesting to bring you along with me on this journey.

Life is a journey. Some parts of the journey are interesting and some are not. Even though more and more people are having to walk this Parkinson’ life than ever before, most people have no idea what it’s like to live this life. I thought that keeping you up to date on any insights I hoped to be able to share would be of some value. I was hoping to learn life lessons that would help me and maybe help other people live happy lives with some kind of challenging condition that won’t go away. I was surprised by how I felt when the doctor told me that I had Parkinson’s disease. It was a weird combination of relief, happiness, and freedom. You would expect to feel something like fear or sadness when you are told you have a progressive, degenerative brain disease that there is no cure for. I felt neither of those things.

For some time before the diagnosis, I had not felt good. I had constant pain and a host of unwelcome and uninvited problems with my body and mind. I was suffering. What made it worse was trying to find out why this was happening to me and find a way to make it stop. Being God’s child, my fear was that I had done something that caused this to happen to me. Did I let something in the door of my life that gave it the right to do this to me? Or was it something I did to take me out from under God’s protection leaving me vulnerable? My life had not been a perfect life. I do make wrong and stupid decisions from time to time. And I believe like most people, I struggled with repeated sin and haven’t always chosen what I knew was right.

When you are saved at 6 years old, I don’t think you can say you were a sinner saved by grace. I believe in the age of accountability and when I reached it, I had not yet become a sinner. (I know every person is born into sin because of what our first parents did in Eden. I’m referring to having to be responsible for personal sin). Every person is responsible for the things they do that are wrong, saved and unsaved. The difference is the unsaved have no way out and are totally subject to the consequences of their actions and at the mercy of the adversary. We that are saved are also responsible for the consequences of our actions, but we have the opportunity to be forgiven, because we have a Father that forgives. Both the saved and unsaved are subject to this fallen world along with being in danger from the trains we willingly lay down in front of. The rain falls on the just and the unjust, the drought also hits them both.

There I was in the parking lot of my doctor, having suffered the last few years and trying the whole time to find out why and correct anything I had done or not done to cause it, not being able to put a name or a face on my tormentors. But now, someone had just given them a name, Parkinson’s disease. For some reason, that made me feel better. I still had pain and all the symptoms, but now there was also hope. Hope that there were tools to battle this previously unrecognized foe. Hope that there were people that had the wisdom and knowledge to fight this foe with me. I am still coming to terms as to the “why I have Parkinson’s”, but the why doesn’t really matter to me anymore. I just believe that God knows what He is doing. It’s my job to trust Him, do what I know is right, following his command to love Him and love others.

The path this journey is taking is getting steeper and more difficult to walk. I have lost my ability to work. Many of the things in life that I used to enjoy I no longer care about or I have lost the ability to do. My body is becoming less cooperative and rebellious.      But I’m happy! I have joy. The joy of having the best and most interesting person I have ever known as my wife. The joy of having three children that, if it were possible to choose your children, I wouldn’t have even come close to the fantastic ones I got. The joy of bringing into our family the perfect people our children chose to marry. The joy of grandchildren. The joy of having a God that is working endlessly in the most microscopic recesses of my life. The joy of friendship and family, where the line between them becomes blurred. The joy of the anticipation of heaven.                                                              I have joy!