Have you ever had one of those moments when you hear something come out of your mouth, and the moment you hear yourself say the words, you immediately wish you could take them all back? Earlier this year, I was standing in front of, well the entire congregation at First UMC, maybe 150 people, and out of my mouth came the words, “Parkinson’s Sucks!”
It was during the time when the Pastor invites you to make prayer requests. Yeah. Our church calls it “Joys and Concerns”; probably similar to several other services happening across the country on any given Sunday morning. I just couldn’t believe what I heard myself say; I was so embarrassed, I wanted to crawl under the pew.
“Parkinson’s Sucks.” From the bottom of my heart, I have to apologize for using such lingo. And please, please, please don’t tell my mom that came out of my mouth. And for a prayer requests! How could I be so inappropriate!? What a knuckle-head I am!
But it does. Every last stinking symptom; the rigidity, the bradykinesia, the loss of so many things I once took for granted… the unknown, the uncertainty. During the time I stood in front of my congregation, my husband Dan was suffering from severe Parkinson symptoms and, well, I.was.scared. His left leg was so severely cramped that my six foot tall husband was shorter than I. And I am a whopping five feet tall.
I was scared. And,… I was angry. And you know what? I still am.
Was I praying? Oh, yeah! You better believe it! And so was just about everyone I knew. Finally, Dan found a new neurologist that increased his levadopa. Through meds, prayer, and physical therapy, he has been able to walk once again (as well as regain his height back to six feet).
Am I thankful? Oh yes, I am thankful. Am I thankful for the Parkinson’s? Absolutely N.O.T.! But, I’m working on that.
I am thankful to my God who listens and answers prayers; because I know that living with PD makes my heart ache daily, it makes His heart ache even more. I am thankful that He understands and hears my cries. I am thankful that he will be there for comfort and to carry not only Dan but me too when Parkinson’s decides to be ugly again, as we know it will.
To expect the unexpected — that’s how I live. I never planned that our lives would be this way as we live with something called Parkinson’s Disease. So many things have changed: Dan is now unemployed. He had to close his business. Dan will never coach soccer for the boys. The kids will never see their daddy jump park benches like he used to. I will never understand why our family has had to change as it has; as would any other family forced to deal with loss of health, or any other unfortunate circumstance.
Which brings me once again to that scripture! 1 Thessalonians 5:18. I am to “give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is the will of God.” Even for the bad stuff too!… even Parkinson’s Disease! Even the mounting medical bills, the failing physical capabilities, the falls up the steps, trips on the rug, even the day I went to work and Dan was stuck for hours on the bathroom floor.
Here is what else though. Have you ever heard Martina McBride’s new song called “I’m gonna love you through this”? Check it out. There is this huge biker dude that has an enormous tattoo on his arm that says “Cancer Sucks”. (I’m thinking of getting one too; except it would say “PD Sucks!” – Just kidding mom!) The song deals with the circumstances of people living, and dying, with cancer. Simply, they are going “to love them through” the pain. Amazingly, sometimes that’s just enough.
You know what? Without a doubt, I know that God is going to love me through this. In the song, each “I” is a different caretaker. For me, my caretaker is God. With God loving me through Parkinson’s, I somehow feel stronger. Pretty cool miracle, huh!? I now know how to rejoice for all the better days and be grateful for the really little things, all the little miracles around me, from sunsets to new freckles, too precious to waste on worry and work. I am thankful for God that he as taught me to appreciate each new day; for Dan is only as healthy as he is right now at this moment. Aren’t we all? That’s the gift of Parkinson’s.
For that, I am thankful.
Copyright © Angie Hott, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved