Even with the best of intentions…

Recently, I was helping a couple prepare their new 5th wheel trailer for a long drive home.

Earlier in the day, somehow, my having Parkinson’s disease came up and I, as usual, quickly steered the conversation elsewhere and we moved on.

When it came time to leave, he politely reached out his hand and asked if I would pray with him. He said that he was concerned about my “eternal future,” asked me if I had been “saved” and then handed me a Christian flyer.  I was speechless; he had blindsided me and my brain shut down leaving me without my usual list of excuses to escape.

He then began to pray and asked God, essentially, to cure me of Parkinson’s disease. He then covered the usual prayer essentials and said amen. During the prayer, my brain had a chance to reboot and after “Gotta go; dog died, house is on fire, daughter’s in jail, whatever,” I beat a path to my car.

People rarely, if ever, surprise me but, apparently, this gentleman was a Ninja Evangelist.

Now to be fair, he was kind, genuine and respectful. But, he said the “p” word and what’s even worse, he asked God to cure me.  That’s what bothers me the most. My Parkinson’s doesn’t belong to him, God or anyone else; it’s mine; everyday, all day. Oddly, I felt offended that he was trying to take it away so casually.

I’ve spent the last five-ish years trying to make peace with both myself and this disease. Each morning, as we stare at each other across life’s chess board, I still foolishly cling to the notion that I can actually beat this through sheer will and perseverance alone; new day, new opportunity, I guess. Fortunately, it’s progression has been slow, for now, and I’ve been able to adjust. At this point, I think of it as dying by Zamboni.

The truth is, I own this disease or vise-versa, depending on the day. I blame no one for it, including God. We all have our battles in life, and this, hopefully, will be the only disease that I ever have to fight, but who knows, life can be terribly cruel sometimes.

But, for now, this is my battle, my disease and my life. I’ve invested an enormous amount of time and emotional energy into living with it and if I’m ever to be “cured,” it won’t be because of a few presumptive words and a firm handshake. The world just doesn’t work that way.

 

 

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Meeting a Parent for the last time.

In the beginning, a parent, for the most part, dictates the relationship that they’ll have with their child.  As the child matures and becomes an adult, it’s more 50/50.

I have had two fathers in my life. The first, of course, biological and the other, a step-father. As an adult, I chose to be distant from both. Neither possessed qualities that I liked or admired. One an alcoholic fighting his demons and the other, a dishonest man who “played games” with people’s minds.

The first passed away almost three years ago and the second, in late April of this year.

As a child and then an adult, I felt that I knew them well and that they, well, knew me.

When a parent dies, the “curtain” gets pulled back and you as their child, get to see how they really lived. If you’re curious enough, you look through the mountainous pile of paperwork left behind; bank statements, high school love letters, receipts and the 29 cent birthday card they bought sixty years ago. You find their box of knick-knacks, which to you, appears to be a box of miscellaneous odds and ends, but to them, each treasured item was a trip down memory lane.

If you’re thorough, you may have the rare joy of re-meeting your parents. Hopefully, as you sit amongst the enormous pile that chronicled their life, you are left uttering the words, “I had no idea…” and are pleasantly amazed.

But, peering behind the curtain can also be a double-edged sword.

The first peek left me with regret. We were more alike than I ever knew, both good and bad. I would liked to have known him better, but that, unfortunately, was not our way.

The second, I knew all too well and as I pulled the curtain tightly closed, I learned that with his death, the world is now, sadly, a better place.