Sunday, October 29, 2006

life/death

The time we have on earth is uncertain. No one can calculate the years they will live, so should this change the way we spend our days? I never used to think about this. In fact death used to paralyze me and consume my thoughts in fear. God gradually guided me to feel comfort at the thought of spending eternity with him. The idea that it would come sooner than later never really entered my mind… until last spring.
Believe it or not my movements weren’t always limited. I wasn’t always in a wheelchair. I used to enjoy many of the things you probably enjoy. I enjoyed playing sports very much. I actually coached basketball with Matt last year. Playing basketball is how I discovered my body wasn’t doing what it should have been doing. During Christmas Break last year I was scrimmaging with the team when I noticed that my left hand wouldn’t respond to the ball. Every time I switched the ball to my left hand it would just hit my hand and roll out of bounds. My hand got progressively worse and by mid January I also started walking with a limp on my left leg. By February I went to see my family physician to see what was wrong. After several appointments with a neurologist I was informed on April 5th of ’06 that I had ALS(Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
The movements of the extremities in the human body are controlled by messages from the brain called motor neurons. In ALS patients the neurons die and the ones that are left no longer get to the muscles effectively to evoke motion. Because of this the muscles begin to deteriorate. This causes visible changes in the way people walk, talk, and breathe. This disease also shortens life expectancy as well. However, the progression of ALS varies in each case. Some people live for two years others live for forty or more.
The moments leading up to and immediately following my diagnosis were filled with heavy thoughts. Before I even knew what I had and I was going through tests to see what was causing the problem, I began thinking about how I would react if whatever was wrong was life threatening. How would I handle myself if the worse case scenario became reality? I came to the conclusion that regardless of when my life ended I had to be pleased with the years I lived. Yes, I’m only 24, but should my accomplishment be in the quantity of my life or the quality of my life? I decided that my years lived were not large in terms of quantity, but they were full of great memories, people, discoveries, and accomplishments. At some point everyone has to come to terms with the realization that everyone will die. In my situation, after having deliberated over this idea I concluded I was ready to go.
Being prepared does not mean giving up. Even though my life may be shorter and severely different from what it was I still have time left. Even in the midst of this tragedy my prior life has awakened me to the presence of an everlasting creator. Therefore, I have a hope that I cling to and believe.
Romans 8:28
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Regardless of the situation you are in you are still a part of a kingdom. Just as I believe that God is giving me a purpose within his kingdom, you too have a purpose within his kingdom.
I can honestly say that this has changed the way I spend my time on earth, but don’t wait until tragedy comes and forces you to reevaluate your life. I urge everyone to be mindful of your talents and the opportunities God is presenting you with here and now. I pray that while pursuing these you will find a purpose and a loving God that with every instance of pouring your heart out in his name, is revealing his kingdom to you through the words, actions, and embrace of those around you.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Quinn said...

Well done sir, well done.

3:21 PM

 
Anonymous Zimmy said...

1st: I was so pleasantly shocked to see a post from you again :-)

2nd: I can't tell you enough how thankful I am for your ministry. What you shared at Commonway, the Benefit, and in many other places has been so encouraging/challenging/inspiring.

I talked to a girl in my Comm210 class who heard you speak at her sorority & was blown away by it.

When handing out flyers, a few people said..."I'm not interested, but what is it." Just in telling them a little bit about you, their demeanor completely changed.

Chris, thanks for being Jesus in such an important way. You've always had a great balance of fun & wisdom, and I'm glad to see it still today. (The joke about driving the wheelchair to Commonway was funny to me at both services.)

Take care, man. I'm prayin for ya.

1:47 PM

 
Blogger The Fritsch Family said...

Well said!

6:24 PM

 

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