Lent is coming and I would like to do something to deepen my relationship with God. I have a copy of the excellent book by Matthew Kelly, Rediscovering Jesus, that I hope to use as a map for my journey. It has 40 short chapters with thought-provoking questions at the end of each one. Pefect, right?
The problem is, I am great at starting things, but get easily bored or just plain forgetful or exhausted. When I miss a day, instead of just catching up and moving on, I am more likely to give up. There are quite a few bookmarks parked in the books on my shelf.
A more realistic journey through Lent is to suffer with my husband in a deeper and more compassionate way. Like Jesus on the road to Calvary, my husband falls quite a bit. It’s what people with Parkinson’s do. He is rarely hurt by this; only one trip to the ER thus far.
He has trouble dressing himself. When helping him do that, I could meditate on the humility of Jesus as the Romans dressd him in a cloak to mock him or when they stripped him and cast lots for his tunic.
It reminds me of John 21:18
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
Parkinson’s is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. It makes movement difficult, causing sufferers to freeze or fall. They often need several tries to gain the momentum to get out of a chair. Medications to treat the disease must be taken very frequently. My husband is up to 5 doses a day and they cause annoying side effects like dyskinesia– involuntary movements.
My husband doesn’t tremble or roll his fingers, some of the more typical signs of Parkinson’s. He is now making involuntay movements of the trunk and arms. It looks like he’s doing a strange chair dance. Michael J. Fox does this so you’ve probably seen the move. It’s hard to watch, but not as hard as watching a crucifixion.
Parkinson’s is taking us both somewhere we don’t want to go. We walk the Via Dolorosa; a path of suffering and of redemption. Like Jesus’s mother Mary, I am virtually powerless to stop the progression. I must watch and pray and provide comfort by letting him know he is not alone. I will search for the graces that are always there, even in the midst of sorrows.