For me it’s a fate worse than cancer

As I write more blogs, posts to Facebook and tweets on Twitter, I often find myself being bothered by whether my ego is being flaunted too much. I usually try to produce words from thoughts that are intended to help others think about issues. One issue I’ve been giving a lot of thought to recently is my mother and her battle with Alzheimer’s. It’s that time of year (December) when thoughts of cheer should be plentiful; however, it’s also that time of year when triggers are activated, causing many to think of joyful times gone by that will not happen again.

My dear mom has experienced the intrusion of a personality-robbing disease on her being for the last fifteen years or so. My siblings (Terri, Larry, William) and I, along with family and close friends, have witnessed the gradual retreat of my mom to some dark place that only she and God knows exactly where she resides. I know it probably sounds a bit selfish, but this has been hard on me. I’m having to stop key stroking at this very moment, because it’s emotionally difficult to think and write my thoughts about “my/our mom.” I’m the oldest of four children my mother carried in her womb; and suffered the pangs of birthing to introduce us to decades of life that have resulted in ages of 67, 62, 59 and 55. Though we’re all dealing with our own chronic health maladies now, we look to mom as the one who has been impacted the most negatively from her condition. Sure, we (collectively) have cancer, diabetes, loss of hearing, and many other ailments; however, we all are yet blessed to have a good portion of our emotional and mental faculties intact.

Here I go again, risking the impression of sounding selfish. My wife, my middle child and I visited mom yesterday. I live two hours away. My sister has been the main care giver for all the years mom has been moving to a place that we can only visit during some brief moments. She texted me a few days ago that the nursing facility was having a Christmas party for all residents and family. The occasion offered a great amount of festive delight, with family and friends showering their loved ones with gifts and attention. Some, like my mom, showed no signs of being aware of all that was going on. There were many volunteer organizations bringing gifts, too. Even a somewhat under-weight Santa was there making his rounds, as he tried to bring holiday cheer to all.

Oh, by the way, I’m the one sibling in the group who has cancer. I’ve written about it on several occasions, on Facebook, Twitter, as well as on this social media outlet. When I compared my mom’s condition to mine, I came up with the title for this piece. Although I’ve been saddled with Multiple Myeloma for almost eighteen years, I’m yet thriving. I’ve been blessed with access to cutting-edge medical care that has kept my cancer at bay. My mom, on the other hand, has been slowly pushed into the recesses of her own being, not able to emerge with the bright self she was known by all to be for many years. Do you understand what I mean when I say her condition seems to be a fate worse than cancer? I do, however, feel blessed that she’s still with us. I just wish she was still with us.

I love you mom, and I miss you so much.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

We’re all broken from the start

My wife and I have two children that we had together and a third from my first marriage. I remember when I first laid eyes on each of these precious gifts from God. The godly construction each of them represented before me was a sight that held no imperfections, at least that’s what it appeared to be. My emotions kicked into high gear, and I thought each of these little bundles was perfect in my sight. In retrospect, I know better. From a biblical perspective they were broken. Unless you understand the nature of each of us at birth, you might think I’m being cruel, assigning a quality of imperfection to three wonderful babies, who exhibited no physical abnormalities early in life. Let me explain.

There is a scripture in the Bible, Romans 3:23, that tells us that we are all have sinned and that we fall short of the glory of God. How is it that all of us have sinned? At time of birth, each of us is an inheritor of what’s called a sin nature. Since each of us is descended from Adam and Eve, and they are given credit for committing the first human sin, each of us inherited that nature at birth. If you consider sin as a disease, you can imagine how a beautiful little child might contract a horrible blood disease in the womb of her parent. Sickle Cell Anemia for example, when each parent has the disease, the offspring has no chance of escaping the horrors of the dreaded disease. Each of us has no chance of escaping the malady of having a sin nature, and possessing a proclivity for sinning. Even our best of intentions to not sin will result in sinning. Spiritually speaking, we’re all broken from the start.

We all need a savior. As John 3:16 proclaims, God gave His only begotten Son, (Jesus) as a sacrifice for all sinners. There had to be a perfect blood sacrifice made that was powerful enough to blot out the sins of all us broken folks. Jesus was that sacrifice; however, each of us must accept Him as our personal sacrifice, our personal savoir, our personal Lord. That act will give us access to Heaven for sure, but in the interim, it gives us access to the powerful and positive influence of the Holy Spirit in out lives. The Holy Spirit fills in those cracks in our brokenness and allows us to function as complete (in Christ). When we’re complete in Christ, we can do as Philippians 4;13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The idea here being that, as a believer in Jesus Christ, we will not want to live our lives outside of then will of God. When we live within the will of God, we will have a desire to do all things as He want us to.

Yes, we’re all broken from the start, but we don’t have to stay that way.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

We don’t stand still

I was sitting in church recently, listening to my pastor render one of his thought-provoking sermons. He made a statement that really did cause my gray matter to churn. He said none of us stands still; we are constantly moving forward. I assigned implications to that, in that we move forward whether we wish to or not. There’s an old saying that says, “time flies when you’re having fun.” I’ve added to that saying by saying that “time flies whether you’re having fun or not.”

On a micro level, all things that we can’t see are moving, even the molecules on what are perceived to be hard surfaces. Nothing stands still. Movement is a universal truth. We cannot choose to not move. Even as we lie worn out and next to lifeless on the couch from fatigue. We’re still moving. We live on a planet that’s part of a solar system, that’s part of a galaxy that’s moving.

Much of the movement, which has affected our lives to this point, has been involuntary. There was movement that brought us into this world. There have been countless actions by others that have brought us to the point we find ourselves today. Time itself moves forward and carries us along with it. I’m here today, but I was there yesterday. I’m distinctly different in appearance than I was ten years ago.

Some of the most frustrating conversations I’ve had have been with my children. God knows I love them; however, one of them hasn’t quite grasped the concept of moving forward with some degree of intentionality. Our existence is God-given, and our purpose, ideally, should be influenced by God’s intent for our existence. If we defer our purpose for being too much to outside influences, such as the latest styles, the desires of the group, or following the advice of others, who have no inkling of what Godly influence looks like, we are setting ourselves up for frustration. We’re allowing someone else to move us forward like pawns on a chess board. I’ve seen many young people frustrated with their lot in life. They’re not wise to the fact that they have made one bad decision after another; however, time moves forward, not waiting on them to wise up.

Sometimes, it seems as much as we try to keep up with this universal movement, we fall short. There are occurrences in our lives that set us back, slow us down, causing us to lose moment. The death of a loved one, loss of a job, a devastating natural disaster that destroys our abode are some examples that slow us down.

Though we are moved by conditions that are all around us, we should contribute to this movement by making wise decisions. Our lot is ours, given to us by God. We need to take ownership for as mush as we can.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.