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.