I’m losing my hair.
Bald spots, skillfully hidden by my hairdresser, have been showing up randomly for about a year. I’ve been told it’s alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease. The loss also might be linked to thyroid disease or to a medication I took following breast cancer. Or maybe gluten. There isn’t much I can do about it, except hope that the hair grows back.
It’s frustrating and distressing and sometimes painful, but in the big scheme of things, this is pretty minor.
It’s all about your perspective. I learned that in the pew on Sunday. Perspective — viewing life with spiritual eyes. Do I see problems or potential? Obstacles or opportunities?
Do I view life through eyes of fear or eyes of faith?
Yeah, I’m losing some hair. But my dear friend is losing her voice. And her ability to swallow. Her breath and her strength. And, unless God answers all our prayers with a miracle, her earthly life.
My friend has ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gerig’s disease — the condition that prompted the Ice Bucket Challenge. At best, she may have three or four years before the disease takes her life.
And yet, when I look into her eyes, I see joy.
Oh, there have been tears and I know she’s also been frustrated, distressed and in pain. But she is facing this unwanted, undeserved illness with eyes of faith.
It’s taken me awhile to understand my friend’s joy, to see things from her perspective. I grieved and I expressed sorrow, until she set me straight. And, I’ll never forget her words to her family when she shared the final diagnosis and they asked “What do we do now?”
She said, “We live.”
For my friend, living means holding her grandbabies, working in her garden for as long as her breath holds out, watching sunsets over Lake Michigan, filling her home with the laughter and conversation of her grown sons and their families. And reading scripture, praying, singing in her heart the hymns and praise choruses she used to lift up to the Lord from her piano bench or in church.
I think she misses that most — singing.
But my friend is walking so close to her Lord and Savior that what emanates from her face is not fear or sadness or loss.
It’s joy. There is joy in her eyes of faith.
Her perspective that I found so difficult to understand is rooted in this: she loves Jesus more than life itself.
My friend has harvested words from her years of journaling to write a blog about what’s on her heart. She can no longer share it with her voice. She writes about her journey through ALS and, more importantly to her, the journey she is on with her Jesus. Please take a moment to sit with my friend in her garden while she shares with you her “Stones”.
“…so that all people on earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and you might always fear the Lord.” Joshua 4:24