Going There With Each Other

Two weeks ago my best friend from college called on a Sunday afternoon to tell me she has been diagnosed with ALS.

Yes, that ALS – the horrific Lou Gehrig’s disease that eats away at your muscles til you are a rag doll of your former self.

Arms and legs progressively stop functioning . It also impacts your voice and breathing; lifespan shortens as complications related to lung function intrude.

I simply could. not. deal. I couldn’t accept that my vibrant full-of-LIFE friend with the most infectious laugh on earth might have to experience this crippling horror.

Instead of leaning in, I wanted to lean out. Instead of turning towards, I wanted to turn away.

There are days like this for all of us when life seems to hurl us into foreign galaxies not of our choosing. And instead of praying or doing anything to enter into the pain, if we’re honest, we’d like to curl up with a box of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate sea salt almonds, and binge watch Fixer Upper (where something gets FIXED!!).

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This picture was taken in London two years ago. Don’t we look young and fun??  🙂 We had no idea what was ahead for either of us.

Thursday I wrote in my journal:

Lord, I just do not want to “go there” with You or Patty. 

I don’t want to go down the road of loss and sadness and “unanswered” prayer. 

Been there. Done that. Bought the shirt. Not fun.

Lord, I don’t know what to pray. I don’t have the will or energy to do this again after losing David

The most I can do is hold Patty, and all the others I love who are hurting before You, and say “Lord have mercy. Walk with us. Carry us. Reassure us that we’ll be ok in the end.”

Jesus, when You were waiting in the Garden of Gethsemane for the cross, is this a little bit of how the humanity in You felt? 

 “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

You didn’t want to “go there”, but You did. For us. 

I read over those words and I think “WHAT THE HECK??!!! This is not about YOU, Laura! You are not the one who is suffering! It’s Patty!”

But suffering is about me and you too. Because we belong to each other. God has knit us together in love.

He suffers with us and we suffer with each other.

We are made to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.

To carry one another’s burdens.

We pray for the refugees and the widows and those without water far away, and pray and hold hands and walk with those suffering close by.

Because we are not meant to suffer alone. Ever.

And the Lord whispers, “Go there, Laura. I’ve been there, and I will be there with you, and for you, and Patty, and all who suffer.”

In the email sent out to friends and family, Patty and her husband, Brian, quoted Alan Redpath, a British pastor from the 1900’s.

“There is nothing – no circumstance, no trouble, no testing – that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me.

If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment. But as I refuse to become panicky, as I lift up my eyes to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will cause my to fret – for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is! – That is the rest of victory!” 

So, here we go. In this together.

Lord, have mercy.

4 Comments

  1. Laura, thank you for your post. I’m so so sorry to hear about Patty’s diagnosis! Yes she does have the most infectious laugh!!! I remember from Chi O days at TCU. My maiden name was Moseley. I think I was a year behind you two.
    Your words were honest and raw. Our minister and good friend needs a heart transplant. We are all scared and anxious and panicky.
    I’m comforted by your post. I will keep Patty and her family in my prayers. She was always a source of joy when seeing her at the “house” . Oh that smile! I remember your sweet smile too!
    I’m lifting both of you up in prayer today.
    Sending love your way! Mary Caulkuns

  2. Laura,
    Thank you for sharing the deep hurt and conflicted feelings we have when we heard about Patty having this horrible disease. The last week since we heard have been difficult to know the whys. Of course none of us are promised an “easy” life. We are called to worship and fall more in love with Jesus as we lay self down and exalt Him. My prayers for Patty , Brian, and their kids are for God to give them the grace and wisdom on how to live life and make decisions on time (every day so precious), as this steamroller of disease comes her way. To think why her and not me is another hard one. God equips us all for what He has ahead of us. How He chooses to use our lives to be His witness is intriguing and befuddling at times. Thankful that life eternally with Jesus will be without any physical pain , but we will all be on our face before Him. Thank you Lord that you love Patty so much and will carry her through ALS in a mighty way. We trust You and do pray for this cup to pass from her if it would be your will.
    Keep posting as as believers we have trouble with how to walk through the shadow of death.

    Praying for you and your family on the loss of David this side of heaven.

    Humbling serving Him,
    Alice

    • Oh yes, Alice. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and prayer for Patty and family. It’s hard to absorb this new reality, hard to find words…I am thankful for Patty’s unshakeable faith and that together we can cling to Jesus.

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