At first I was just going to link to the post below as one of my week-end links, but I had more to say than a one-sentence blurb of why you should read it, so this became a post of it’s own. This isn’t really about ALS; it’s about choosing to live fully, no matter the circumstances. It’s about choosing not to mere drag through life.
Though I’m tempted to share the whole thing here (it’s a facebook post, not a regular blog post), I’ll just share an excerpt in hopes that you’ll go read this in it’s entirety; it’s not that long and I don’t want to plagiarize:
“Then at age 36 ALS hit me. I had spent the previous 16 years being very physically active and hardly divided my time between mind, body, and spirit… my body, something I’d fully utilized over the past 37 years is rapidly failing to work… At the same time something miraculous is happening, my mind and spirit are growing faster than my body is failing…
I do a lot of waiting now. Waiting for my food to be made, for someone to help me get dressed, or help me up the stairs. I use this time to think. I often think about everything I have, the people who love me, and how I can show my appreciation. I think about life and how precious it is. This makes living, even with ALS, really beautiful.” – Jay Smith from Every90Minutes
My dad died of ALS. I’ve seen firsthand what this disease does to a body. I’ve seen how the debilitation of the body can affect a person’s mind and spirit. To read words from a man suffering the same yet holding on to such hope, and offering hope to others as well, is inspiring and humbling.
I read Jay’s words with tears in my eyes, remembering all my dad went through. It’s hard to imagine this man seeing beauty in life with ALS, but his perspective is right on.
It can be hard to see God in the midst of difficulty. I know this from my own personal experience. Sometimes we put blinders on because we don’t want to see beauty; it hurts like walking out into bright sun from a dark building. But your eyes will adjust, if you let them, and seeing beauty will get easier even in the hard parts of life.
Is your life full of love, purpose, meaning, and growth?
Are you growing spiritually? Are you eating well and keeping your body in reasonably good shape, appreciating the fact that it still functions? Do you make an effort to keep learning, whether through books or podcasts or classes or maybe even challenging conversations?
If not, may I be blunt and ask, what’s your excuse?
You don’t have to start big, and you don’t have to tackle everything at once. But you can start. Begin today with one step — no matter how small — toward purposeful growth, and be open to seeing beauty in the life you’re living.