Shortly after my ALS diagnosis Mark and I talked with Deacon Jim Schiltz and his wife Frankie after mass one day and Jim said to us, “You are on a true faith journey right now. It’s easy for me to stand on the altar and talk about faith but living it is another story.” Boy was Jim’s statement ever true.
Nine years ago my faith was really challenged. I always thought I believed in God but my efforts were kind of lazy until my sister Jean died and six weeks later my brother Mick died. I was really hurting and didn’t know what to do so I took some advice from a friend, Chris Cassleman, and started praying the Rosary every day on my way to work and sometimes on my way home from work. After a while instead of praying for God to help me with my pain I started praying for others because we all suffer in one way or another. I started to feel better and pretty soon every time I saw a window box full of pretty flowers I thought of Jean because she loved flowers and I thought of Mick when I saw someone hugging like they loved deeply because Mick was an amazing hugger.
Now that I am faced with ALS and my own death, my faith has been challenged beyond belief. I realized I was not prepared to know the true meaning of faith. I always said I believed in God but did I really mean it? Faith is so easy to profess when life is good.
After many discussions, thoughts and prayers this is what I’ve come up with. I’ve decided to put on my Rosemary-Colored Glasses and believe with every ounce of energy I have. I want to enjoy my ride to the end instead of being bitter or sad all the time.
I want to believe the beautiful words that my friend Cindy Dabrowski wrote in a letter to Mark: “You have a special gift as a caregiver and are an example to all of us reading the blog that in good times as well as bad we are called to be God’s eyes, ears, hands and feet to those that can’t do for themselves.”
As I continue to weaken I want to believe God has sent angels like Mark, Kelly and my family and friends to help me see and hear, to help feed me, talk for me and walk for me.
I want to believe that God will help take away sorrow until my family and friends can see a pretty flower box or a heartfelt hug. I want to believe that we will all be reunited again some day in Heaven with pure love for each other.
Even if I find out in the end that their isn’t a God or a Higher Being, at least I enjoyed the ride thinking of the beautiful possibilities of a God and Heaven.