My friend’s father was diagnosed with ALS. Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The day I found out I was dealing with a situation that involved a male perpetrator. A man who by his own choosing was causing chaos, pain and suffering in other’s lives. A man living his life with a purpose of destruction. Then I find our her father has ALS.
The man causing chaos is young. Healthy. Fit. Able to work but doesn’t. Able to be of assistance to those he is hurting. But he isn’t.
What is right about this?
The man with ALS has spent his life serving his Lord, his family and his community. He goes to the local prison to minister to the inmates. Still. He still does this. He chooses to not be self serving and do things others think he should do. He is doing what he wants to do.
He takes care of extended family members by managing their affairs.
He loves his wife and dedicated his life to their marriage.
He parented his children.
He worked his entire life.
He didn’t take, he didn’t steal. He didn’t curse the world for having to earn his way. He didn’t abuse others. He didn’t ask for the world to take care of him.
He sought and found ways to give to the world.
Then he gets ALS.
His ALS has affected him in many ways. Yet he can still walk, he can still do his errands and assist his wife in the running of their mutual world.
He can still serve his Lord.
And he does so willingly and graciously.
I know him through his child. I know what goodness he gives. I know that his faith is not only serving him, but others. Like me.
I talk with his daughter and know that he is calm and at peace with where his life is. I told her tonight that I can’t imagine living forever, here, on earth. That I believe in a better existence. And that her father, and her mother’s, faith only strengthens my belief. I pass by her parent’s home on my way to work every day. And every day I pass I say “be with them God and give them comfort, and thank you for giving them such strength. My faith is enriched by them.” Now that I write that down, it seems kind of selfish.
When we were talking about how he is doing and I asked if he is still taking his walks she said yes, before the weather had gotten bad. Right now we are going through a weather snap that no one should have been walking in. When she said it’s a blessing that he can still do this I told her it is obvious that he has a purpose. That he’s meant to be walking among us. And showing us the way.
We hear such horrid things in the world. And ALS is certainly a horrid thing. But amongst the horrid is grace.
I told her tonight that even though I am not in the same room, or even the same building as he is….I feel his presence.
I feel the goodness that radiates off of him. Through his child. Through the good deeds he does for the sole reason – that good deeds need done. And others like him. I believe that he walks among us for a reason. We may not fully understand it or want to accept it.
But goodness like this exists for a reason. Possibly many reasons. Reasons we don’t know. Maybe some reasons we suspect or hope for.
What ever the reason is…. I believe in it.
Maybe…the man who is currently living his life creating pain and suffering for others will end up in prison. Maybe some day he will meet the man with ALS, in prison. And maybe the man with ALS will help this troubled man find a new path. A new way to live. And maybe the man with a new purpose will reach forward in his life and help change someone else’s life. For the better. Maybe he will make amends.
What’s right about this?
We may not know here, today, the far reaching stretch of his faith and his service.
But maybe we’ll know some day.