Friday, January 13, 2012


Miss Ashley at the Shine Project has a unique way of picking topics to write about that are not only interesting .. but also encourage a fair amount of introspection with just a hint of the uncomfortableness that comes from opening up beyond your normal comfort level.

Courage can manifest itself in so many ways ..
It can be the young woman who stands up for the girl being made fun of at school.
It can be the grandmother who steps in and raises a grandchild.
It can be the young man who chooses to speak up in the locker room when the comments about girls are getting inappropriate.

I had the unique opportunity to be in the hospital room when the doctors first used the words "Lou Gehrig's Disease" with my dad.  I never was very good at following directions .. especially not the directions to "wait out here" after watching fifteen doctors and students file into his hospital room.  This hospital was a teaching hospital, so everything was always observed by 12 or so students.

My dad was 39 years old.
We learned what amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was going to do to his body, and that there was not a cure for this disease.
We learned what the life expectancy was for patients with this disease.
We learned that after all the disease would do .. his mind would always remain intact and he would be all too aware of what was happening.

The last thing Dr. P said was, "We're going to let you have some time to digest all of this.  I'll come back in awhile and we can go through your questions."
After everyone filed out ..
my Dad and I locked eyes across the room.

See, my Dad was one of my best friends.
We're a lot alike, and I knew what this was going to do to him.
His fiercely independent spirit was NOT going to do well with this.
Frankly, I wasn't so sure I was going to do well with this.

As I went and laid next to him in his hospital bed, he made an incredibly courageous statement .. "This doesn't change anything."
I told him he was right .. it didn't change anything .. it changed EVERYTHING!

There is no doubt in my mind, there were moments and days when my Dad must have been terrified.
Terrified of the path this disease would carve through his body.
Afraid that he would not be humble enough to accept the Lord's will and lose the anger.
Terrified of who would care for his family after he was gone.
Afraid to do the things that the Lord would ask of him for the next couple of years.

Courage is doing that which you are afraid to do.
We all learned a lot about courage during those 18 months .. as we did things that we were terrified to do.
We learned to trust in the Lord's time lines.
We learned to rely on each other.
We learned that there are amazingly kind and generous people in the world .. and we vowed to pay that kindness forward .. even if it took an entire lifetime.
We learned to intentionally create moments and traditions.
We learned to focus on things that matter, and let go of things that don't.
We learned to say I love you .. a lot.


Mrs MacKenzie said...

This is beautiful! I can't imagine how scary that must have been.

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