Adam & Eve
Image found by google images on Mar. 20, 2012 at
http://vivirenlagraciadedios.blogspot.com/2012/01/que-es-el-pecado-parte-i-what-is-sin.html
This week as I approach another Tuesday Evenglow Bible Study, I find myself invigorated.  Yes, first, I love doing Bible Study with the folks at Evenglow, but I also have had many opportunities for discussion about the topic at hand throughout my week.  Whether it is posts on my facebook with people who disagree with me or a Bible Study at Chenoa, I have been challenged and affirmed as I grapple with the creation accounts.

This week at Evenglow Bible Study we will be discussing the second creation story and the fall (Genesis 2-4).  I may, eventually do a blog Bible Study over on my other blogsite:  “Virtues of Scripture,” time will tell, but for now I simply ask a question: 

“What does it mean to you that you are created by God?” 

No wrong answers, btw, and no arguing in the comments. I simply want to know what it means to you.

Beginnings.
During these first few weeks of Lent, the season as we approach Easter, our Hebrew Scripture readings will be from Genesis.  Last week it was Genesis 9:8-17 and this week it will be Genesis 17:1-7 & 15-16.  For Lent Genesis is a great place to start, but then, Genesis being a great place to start isn’t exactly a new idea is it?  When the Hebrew Scriptures and, later, the Christian Canon was being put together where did they put Genesis, but at the beginning, right?
There is the obvious reason that Genesis is at the beginning of scripture.  It’s about beginnings.  I mean, literally, right at the start, Genesis says, “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth…”   There is no other single phrase of scripture that would be more apt for the beginning of the Bible, right?  Certainly, Genesis is about beginnings.  Genesis is about the beginnings of the universe, the ordering of the things and people of the universe, and, as we progress through the book, it is about the beginnings of the Hebrew people.
But Genesis isn’t just at the beginning of scripture because it talks about beginnings.  Gosh, John starts off talking about beginnings, right?  If Christians were looking for a first book of the Bible they could have started there, if they were just looking for a landmark text about how things began.  What Genesis does better than any other scripture is to remind us that things began not only with God but that God’s redemptive work didn’t happen in a void.  God’s redemptive and creative work happened in relationship.  No, let me correct myself.  God’s redemptive and creative work happened in relationships.  Do you see the “s” on the end of that word?  God is in relationship with all of the things that were created.  Not just humans, not just butterflies or daffodils.  God creation and more importantly God’s love is universal for all of creation.  By the time we get to the scriptures for this Lent (chs 9 & 17) a shift has occurred. Oh, don’t worry, Genesis never lets go of ‘beginnings’ and ‘creation’ as its theme, but God begins making covenants, that is to say, promises.  So Genesis is about how God  put the universe into motion and created (and ordered) it, but also Genesis is about God’s promises to that creation and God’s faithfulness and love for all of that creation.
So why is Genesis at the beginning of our scriptures?  Why is it perfect for the beginning of Lent?  Why is it where I start when I teach confirmation?  Because God’s life-giving relationship to creation is the foundation of everything else that comes to us in scripture.  Genesis isn’t just at the beginning of the Bible because the fist words are “in the beginning.”  I think Genesis is placed at the beginning of our Biblical Canon because it is foundational to every other scripture in our Bible.  When we hear about a baby in the manger we should be reminded of God’s creation, redemption, and God’s promises.  When we read about Christ upon the cross?  Yup.  We should have in mind that God was at the beginning creating, in the end redeeming, and throughout all of our trials, God’s promises are secure.  When Paul writes his frustrations and successes in his letters?  We can keep in mind that God is at the foundation of his work and God stands with Paul and those churches, and, today, we can keep Genesis at the center of our theology and keep creation and promise at the center of how we respond to the people, things, and world around us.
Today is our first-ever Video Bible Study at Evenglow Lodge.  Even though I can’t be with the Evenglow residents today, I am still able to share through the miracle of technology.  Not only can I engage in Bible Study with residents of Evenglow, but anyone at First United Methodist Church in Pontiac, or, really, anyone in the world can take part in this ministry with us.  How cool is that?

First, Carrie and I wanted to share a couple of updates.  First, you are invited to click here to read a blog with the latest update on my tumor; written by my wife, Carrie.  Secondly, we would like to share a video from last Sunday with an update about my recovery, a testimony from my mother, and an update from my wife:



The scripture for Bible Study, today, comes from 2 Kings 5 and is the story of Naaman being healed by Elisha.  As you read along with me be on the look-out for expectations.  As we read about each character ask yourself, “how does this character look at the world?” and “What outcome does this character expect?”



2 Kings 5:1-14 


 1 Naaman, a general for the king of Aram, was a great man and highly regarded by his master, because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram. This man was a mighty warrior, but he had a skin disease. 2Now Aramean raiding parties had gone out and captured a young girl from the land of Israel. She served Naaman’s wife.  3 She said to her mistress, “I wish that my master could come before the prophet who lives in Samaria. He would cure him of his skin disease.” 4 So Naaman went and told his master what the young girl from the land of Israel had said.
 5 Then Aram’s king said, “Go ahead. I will send a letter to Israel’s king.”
   So Naaman left. He took along ten kikkars of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6 He brought the letter to Israel’s king. It read, “Along with this letter I’m sending you my servant Naaman so you can cure him of his skin disease.”
 7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he ripped his clothes. He said, “What? Am I God to hand out death and life? But this king writes me, asking me to cure someone of his skin disease! You must realize that he wants to start a fight with me.”
 8 When Elisha the man of God heard that Israel’s king had ripped his clothes, he sent word to the king: “Why did you rip your clothes? Let the man come to me. Then he’ll know that there’s a prophet in Israel.”
 9 Naaman arrived with his horses and chariots. He stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent out a messenger who said, “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored and become clean.”
 11 But Naaman went away in anger. He said, “I thought for sure that he’d come out, stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the bad spot, and cure the skin disease. 12 Aren’t the rivers in Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than all Israel’s waters? Couldn’t I wash in them and get clean?” So he turned away and proceeded to leave in anger.
 13 Naaman’s servants came up to him and spoke to him: “Our father, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? All he said to you was, ‘Wash and become clean.’” 14 So Naaman went down and bathed in the Jordan seven times, just as the man of God had said. His skin was restored like that of a young boy, and he became clean. 


Scott’s Thoughts
And, now, if you haven’t fallen asleep yet, click on this video to hear some reflections on this intriguing scripture:





Before my new Video Bible Study goes live tomorrow afternoon, I thought I’d give you all a little bit of a head-start on 2 Kings.  Sorry I drone on a bit.  Next time I’ll try to be better.  Remember, this is my first try at on-line Bible Teaching.  In the meantime, I hope you learn a little something about this fascinating book of the Bible.

I wanted to offer you a taste of what we will be discussing in Bible Study on Tuesday with another scripture from 2 Kings.  Our theme on Tuesday will be:  What it means when we can’t do things for ourselves.  So between now and then, you are invited to read the scripture below and a few words from me.
2 Kings 4:8-17
(commonenglishbible.org)

One day Elisha went to Shunem. A rich woman lived there. She urged him to eat something, so whenever he passed by, he would stop in to eat some food.  She said to her husband, “Look, I know that he is a holy man of God and he passes by regularly. Let’s make a small room on the roof. We’ll set up a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp for him there. Then when he comes to us, he can stay there.”

So one day Elisha came there, headed to the room on the roof, and lay down.  He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call this Shunammite woman.” Gehazi called her, and she stood before him. Elisha then said to Gehazi, “Say to her, ‘Look, you’ve gone to all this trouble for us. What can I do for you? Is there anything I can say on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’”

She said, “I’m content to live at home with my own people.”

Elisha asked, “So what can be done for her?”

Gehazi said, “Well, she doesn’t have a son, and her husband is old.”

Elisha said, “Call her.” So Gehazi called her, and she stood at the door. Elisha said, “About this time next year, you will be holding a son in your arms.”

But she said, “No, man of God, sir; don’t lie to your servant.”

But the woman conceived and gave birth to a son at about the same time the next year. This was what Elisha had promised her.

Scott’s Thoughts
Elisha comes by and, just on his own accord, wants to help her.  He seems to want to “pay her back” for her hospitality, but the woman won’t hear of it.  She tells Elisha (who is also often referred to as ‘the man of God’) that she needs no more wealth or power.  Apparently she has all that she needs.  Elisha keeps ‘sniffing around,’ though, doesn’t he?  He wants to do something nice and realizes that he could use his powers to give them the gift of a child.

If you read my journal entry (online we call it a ‘blog’),  you will know that I’ve been struggling with what it means to have physical limitations. I think that many of us can relate to this woman of Shunem.  I think that, young or old, many of us find times in our lives when we become painfully aware that our bodies, minds or spirits just won’t let us do the things that we would really like most.

In fact, how does this woman respond to Elisha when he tells her of the gift he has planned?

She replies, “No, my Lord, O man of God; do not deceive your servant.”

This is a woman who is resigned to her fate of having no male heir.  She is a woman who is very aware of her bodily limitations and those of her husband.  If you are a resident of Evenglow reading this in preparation for Tuesday, then I have no doubt that you would respond the very same way to such a bizarre promise, wouldn’t you?

The funny thing about us humans is that we often don’t want to talk about our own limitations, even when we are convinced of them.  We want to ignore that there are things we can’t do for ourselves.  I don’t know if it is pride, hope, or simply stubbornness.  For my part:  the other night I tried to get up and go to the bathroom without my walker because I thought, “I can do this and I don’t need help from Carrie,” but instead found myself fallen on the floor, still waking her up, because I physically couldn’t do it on my own.

The woman of this story is well aware of her problems.  She probably didn’t appreciate having them thrown in her face, especially since she doesn’t really believe Elisha is going to be able to follow through.  She tells him that the last thing she needs is to get a false sense of hope!  She knows that she and her husband’s physical bodies are not capable of producing a son.  She is aware and resigned.

Yet, it is about one year later that she conceived and bore a son just as Elisha has declared.  Sometimes we are reluctant to talk about our problems.  Sometimes we are reluctant to accept offers of help.  Most often, we simply don’t believe that there is help available to us.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not a messiah and I’m certainly no Elisha, but I don’t think it takes the supernatural force of a great prophet or the physical presence of Jesus in sandals to do Holy works in this world.

When God formed communities of Hebrew peoples; when Christ commissioned and sent out the disciples; when the Holy Spirit came upon the new Christian-Jews at Pentecost something happened with humanity.  I believe that God does touch and heal in very real ways today.  This week as we prepare for Bible Study, let us be pondering a couple of questions:

  1. When have I needed something that I couldn’t do for myself? 
  2. How do I respond when people offer me help? 
  3. Do I have people around me who may be waiting for my help –or waiting for me to accept their help?


    Tuesday Bible Study
    (Evenglow Lodge Chapel)

    Join Us In-Person
    For Bible Study at the Evenglow Chapel
    Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 at 1:30 p.m!

    We will look at 2 Kings chapter 5 as we discuss
    another person who needed help from Elisha!


    Settling Accounts

    My journey to where I am today began way back last summer.  My mother was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma which is a tumor of the ear that had grown into her brain (example, left).  She underwent brain surgery last May and Drs. Benecke and Polinsky did wonderfully.  The problem is that I was experiencing symptoms like hers.  My wife and I became concerned and I finally went to see a doctor.  I shuffled from one specialist to another until an MRI was scheduled.  On December 2 at about 8 am I met with Dr. Kelly (a Ear, Nose, Throat Surgeon) who looked at my MRI and said, “it’s all clear.”

    Well, we went on with our day.  We had plans to meet my parents in Peoria for a  Transiberian Orchestra Concert and by 3:45 pm we were arriving to pick them up for our fated evening.  Unfortunately as we neared the parking lot to meet my parents I received a call from Dr. Kelly’s office.  On the other end of the phone a stalled voice instructed me, “Could you please hold for Dr. Kelly?”

    Dr. Thomas Kelly was calling me to explain that after reviewing the full MRI (not just the ear canals) and the full radiologists’ report, it was obvious that I had a mass in my cerebellum and needed to meet with a Neurologist at my soonest convenience.

    Unfortunately it was 4pm on a Friday afternoon, so you can imagine that WebMD, Wikipedia, and our imaginations wrecked havoc upon us for the remainder of that weekend.  Over dinner, after the concert and a lovely night with my parents we shared with them what little we knew and, now, the rest is -as they say- history.

    Over those next weeks of December we continued to meet with my primary care doctor, neurologists, neuro-surgeons, and other specialists and began to better understand what exactly we were facing (well, we didn’t know what we were facing, but they were able to help us assemble a roadmap and plan the battle).

    Now, we worked with an array of phenomenal doctors and staffs.  I don’t know that I could pick a favorite or a best:  for one thing, they all have their own areas of expertise…  but I want to take a moment to testify about Dr. Fang Li of McClean County Neurology.  She was quick to bring us opinions beyond her own, she was clear and direct, she spoke to us as adults and educated us along the way….and she was never afraid to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find someone who does.”  If you live in Central Illinois and need to spend some time with a neurologist, I highly suggest that you try to get in with Dr. Fang Li.

    The only negative experiences we really had were indirectly related to our insurance.   The United Methodist Church provides us with excellent insurance and when we would call the insurance company we never had any direct problems, but every doctor and nurse we spoke with would say things like, “Insurance won’t cover that,” or “your insurance won’t let you go there,” or “insurance can’t approve what you’re asking.”  It turned out that these were all falsehoods for us, but we realized that there is a very real reason that doctors would say these things:  these statements are far too often true.

    These last few weeks have made us feel exceptionally fortunate for our insurance, our jobs and our supportive churches; but these last few weeks have opened up our eyes to the deep trouble our society has surrounding healthcare and the way patients are treated in the midst of troubles.

    Enough of that.  I don’t want to get all negative and cynical, especially in regards to something I can do little-to-nothing about, right now.

    As Ray Owens left on vacation for a few weeks and I was trying to ‘hold down the fort’ for a few weeks at the Pontiac Church I finally got the call from Barnes-Jewish Hospital that it was time to come down for a consultation.

    On January 19 I met Dr. Dacey who is Chairperson of Neurological Surgery and Co-Chair of the Department of Neurology and Neurological Surgery for the Washington University School of Medicine.  He is, incidently (not to ruin the end of the story, I hope), the man who would eventually (and successfully) remove that tumor from my cerebellum.

    One more important thing for you all to understand about my relationship with Dr. Dacey.  It failed.  I had the goal of making this very serious and buttoned-down neuro-god laugh.  I was just sure that I could do it.  I made jokes about “diddling interns in closets” (Grey’s anatomy) and my sister-in-law even asked if he had to wear a diaper during surgery, since it was a 10 hour procedure….but through it all, through each attempt, Dr. Dacey held firm and remained stoic and professional.

    By the way, if that was the choice to make: between stoic and professional or jovial and silly.  Well, I’m happy that I got the right guy!

     One of the most exciting things which we learned from Dr. Dacey about this surgery (at least, the most exciting for a technophile like me) was that they would be using the latest in technology.  (Carrie, my wife, likes to tell people that Dr. Dacey and his team just put it on autopilot and didn’t do anything else…but we know that isn’t true, don’t we, Dr. Dacey!?!)

    First of all, On Sunday, February 5 Barnes-Jewish did a special MRI of my head using -what Carrie and I have termed “cyborg lifesavers.”  The nurse had told us that we could have a nice dinner the night before the surgery so we made plans for Sunday night at a Bob & June’s fancy country club (Sunset at Gravois & 270).  So it was a surprise when we went in for the MRI Sunday afternoon (before dinner)… they started shaving parts of my head.  Then they went on to tell me to be careful because my “cyborg lifesavers” must remain in place until the end of my surgery the next day.

    Needless to say, there were a lot of strange looks that night as people walked past us at Sunset Country Club…  Well, the lifesavers stayed on.  We enjoyed a great dinner with my in-laws, my parents, my wife, sister-in-law and sister!  I looked like hell, but I enjoyed myself.  Oh- and I didn’t care what other people thought about my alien-like appearance.

    I don’t remember much about the surgery on Monday.  Mostly that is because I was unconscious, but also, no one has really told me much about what happened.  I know what was supposed to happen:

    That special MRI which mapped my head got loaded into the computer / microscopes and then Dr. Dacey and his team could see what they were doing inside of my head with their fancy probes and tools.  Pretty cool, huh?  The surgery seemed to go pretty well and it might have even gotten finished in the 4-6 hours they had estimated, except that it turned out their machines worked perfectly and there was a little more to done, in the end.

    Barnes-Jewish has this really cool new MRI right in the neuro-operating room called an Intraoperative MRI.  While I am still ‘knocked out’ and on the table.  You know, while it is still (relatively) easy for them to go back in and do more work on me, they run an MRI right in the operating room.  With those funky cyborg spots all over me and with all of their computer technology they can see if there is anything they missed, if there are any other spots, if there is any unexpected bleeding, swelling, etc.  How cool, right?

    Turns out there was some tissue that they hadn’t gotten the first time around, so they went back in and continued the surgery in order to make sure that they got all of the tumor.

    I have to tell you all, from the first doctor’s visit I had last summer, to this fancy equipment, to the expertise of my neuro-surgeon- I feel blessed –and not just a little bit lucky.

    My primary doctor might have fooled around for two years.  The doctors might have put off the MRI, or I might have ended up at a hospital where they don’t have the intraoperative MRI technology yet (and could have left part of the tumor).  I mean, when one thinks of all the variables.  When one imagines all of the possibilities:  it is staggering.

    After 10 hours face down on a table my face was swollen.  After having my skull pinned into a halo device, I was sore and had bumps all over my head.  After such a long surgery and with staples running down my head and spine…I was incredibly sore and tired.  But do you know what?  I am blessed beyond belief.  There is absolutely no question about it.  Through all I have endured these last few weeks, I know that I am a man of many blessings.  I have a family who has stood by me;  I have churches and pastors who sat with my friends and family, who sent me greetings, love and prayers; and I have in-laws who have graciously opened up their house, not just to me, but to a Shriner patient and her families over these past months to ensure that all in need would be cared for.

    Sometimes we need to settle accounts.  You know, put things in place: make sure our debts are paid, our actions have come together:  We have to make sure that our checking account balances out.  I wanted to give an “full update” from this past week, but I realized that with a week like this one, a summary of “goings-ons” just doesn’t do justice to the past days.

    If you’ve been watching  my videos, well, then you know there are countless people to thank and far too many “accounts to settle for this blog entry to ever end.  I won’t even try.

    I do want to make a couple of special thank yous for some people who provided special support to me and my family over these past weeks.  First of all, Rev. John McIntosh has been not just a pastor to me and my family, but is now a friend and clergy-colleague to my wife and I.  He was selflessly willing to take time away from a very important Clergy Covenant Session in order to sit with my family the day of my surgery and provide pastoral support and friendship to my family in one of our greatest moments of need.  Rev. Stephanie Lendt is one of the pastors at Bob and June’s (my in-laws) church and, she too, made herself available throughout the day in order to provide support to the Berry family as they waited through that very tough day.

    Now there are many other friends, colleagues, and family who stopped in, including my District Superintedent, Leah Pogemiller; directing pastor, Rev. Dr. Ray Owens and his wife; and Greg Weeks the Sr. Pastor of Manchester UMC.  There were many people who came by during those next few days, but there was one group who really went above and beyond and I must name them especially.  Upon hearing of my ordeal and finding out that I was at Barnes-Jewish in Saint Louis, Rev. Ed Hoke, Rev. Dr. Victor Long, and Rev. Jim Barnett rushed from Dallas, TX.  Yes, that is right:  Dallas! to be at my bedside (it is unclear, they may have been on their ‘way through,’ but let’s make sure to make them sound SUPER heroic).  Upon hearing of my compromised state, Ed, Victor and Jim jumped into the car and sped through the South until they landed at my door.  Ladies and Gentlemen:  That is love, that is friendship.  (That is also probably a load of crap, but I’ll leave that for you to investigate)

    I was high on narcotics at the time, but this is what Ed, Jim & Victor
    looked like when they showed up at Barnes Jewish!

    This has been a crazy few weeks and I’m sure you are wondering if I’ll soon be done rambling about it.  In part, that’s why I’m trying to get this all out of the way with one massive “update,” but you also need to understand that these past weeks have had such an impact: positive in many ways, that you are still sure to hear much more about my weeks of sickness and God’s triumph in my renewed health.  On the one hand:  I’m sorry and I hope I don’t wear you out.  On the other hand:  sit down, shut up and read about my experience.  I had a brain tumor so I get to be verbose!

    For now, goodnight.  I’ve eaten the last of the Oreo cookies and the milk is nearly depleted (Bob, I know how you like it when just one thing is left in a package, so I left the very last oreo cookie just for you).

    I Can’t Do Anything!

    Lately there have been some things I just can’t do on my own.  Has anyone else felt this way recently?  For me the frustrations began on Saturday, February fourth.  I wanted to do something special for Carrie before her terrible week of taking care of me would begin.  I suddenly realized that on February 14, while I recovered from surgery would be Valentine’s Day.  What was I to do?  I mean,  I couldn’t be sure of whether I would be alive or dead, able to make plans for my dear wife or be struggling for consciousness.  I don’t want to put too fine a point on it, but I was unsure of what my condition or quality-of-life would be.

    I wanted to do something special for my wife, but I was faced with the reality that I could not actually wait any longer to make plans.  If I didn’t order some flowers and set some plans in motion, I could run out of time!

    I was very fortunate to be with Carrie for her to see these on Valentines!!!

    As a young man I seldom feel as though I will run out of time.  I seldom feel as though I might miss getting something finished.  Sometimes that means that I wait until the last minute to setup worship or plan a Bible Study.  Sometimes that means that I don’t often enough tell my wife or  family how I feel about them.  Oh, and more recently, it means that I get up at ungodly hours to eat sugar-sweetened cereal (every since getting to my in-laws) …because there will always be tomorrow to exercise.

    Isn’t that a shame?  I especially recognize the shame in such behavior this week.  I finally found a week when my health concerns forced me to face my mortality and the precariousness of life.  I suspect that others of you have felt these feelings sometimes, am I wrong?  Don’t we all feel a little helpless (maybe hapless) from time-to-time?

    One reality that really slapped me in the face, once I was out of the hospital this week, was the fact that I could not drive.   I’m young!  I never imagined for a moment what it would mean for me to have my driving privilege taken away from me.  Well, stop the presses, let’s be really clear:  I never really thought of of driving as a privilege!  Driving seemed to be a right for someone in my age and in my condition!  I have always just assumed that I could drive.

    During my hospital stay it was a non-issue, of course.  Except in a wheelchair:  No one drives in the hospital!  That would be silly.  No problem!  But when I got my official discharge all my friends and family were away from the hospital at the moment.  Still, no big deal.  I had plenty to do and I began setting myself to work trying to gather up the many small items which had exploded into my room.  My father-in-law and wife were on the way and all would be fine.  I just had to be patient.  Patience, though, really isn’t my strongest suit.  I made it it home just fine, of course…except that wasn’t the end of the story.  From the moment of my surgery right up until the moment I am writing this very journal entry…I have been on very powerful narcotics to control pain.  That means no driving.  –It means, actually, that there is a lot of very unsteady walking, too.  My mobility has been severely limited and I find myself frustrated and continually impatient.

    Not only did I find myself with strict orders to not do any driving, but I was under instructions to not shower, not get my head wet (that meant no shampoong my hair:  gross!), and, perhaps most stressful:  I was under orders to use a walker or wheelchair.  Have any of you found yourself losing your freedoms like this?  It was terribly disenheartening and this all left me feeling a bit silly and vulnerable.  Of course, once we start learning our limits we begin to get used to it, right?

    By day number two of all this:  I was very comfortable with the fact that any strolls down the hallway would be with a walker.  In fact, it brought me some comfort, in a way.  I felt some security in knowing that I had something to hold onto.  But even in the midst of comfort and security, we can have setbacks, right?  The next day, without the Physical Therapist, but with my wife and parents nearby, I decided to take short walk with my walker  (having notified my nurse, of course).  The day before my walk had gone very well and I went at least two thirds of the way down the hall with supervision, but on this day:  with my parents arguing behind me, my wife not in my line of sight and with commotion all around me (patients, nurses, doctors and others walking quickly past), I suddenly felt as though I was going to pass out.  I’m not sure if I exclaimed it verbally or just thought it, but all that I knew was that I was about to go down -and embarrassingly, I had not even gone half the distance of the day before! I’m passing out! What a strange, terrible and helpless feeling.  I felt like a failure, but my wife shouted and my father ran for a chair.  I can’t be sure of how it all happened, but somehow my body was managed into a wheelchair and my wife gave me the safety of her arms as she helped me to feel safe and secure once again.  Oh- and just as importantly, she bouyed me up emotionally, reminding me of what I had accomplished and not letting me dwell on my failures.

    Don’t we all have moments when we realize we have gotten in over our heads and we worry that we can’t succeed on our own?  Today, as I ponder all of the freedoms I have temporarily lost and the strangeness that has become an every-day part of my life, of late:  Today I cannot help but recognize all that I have gained, as well.  It maybe frustrating to ask my mother-in-law for a simple ride to the store.  It may seem lonely to sleep across the room from my wife…and it may drive my wife and mother-in-law mad that they are now scheduling their days around medicine pick-ups, Scott’s silly errands, physical therapy, and home nursing visits.

    Yet, as God is my witness: I shall do my my best to not take the help of others’ for granted in the future; I shall try to be more ready to ask for help  (I strained myself moving a chair by myself, tonight, instead of asking for help); and I, most assuredly, will strive to be more compassionate and available to providing support and assistance to others where I see them struggle.

    I won’t lie:  This has been a difficult few days, but it has also been days of patience and learning for both my wife and I!  Would you join me on this journey as we support on another, grow in community and call upon God to strengthen us, even on those difficult days?

    Thank you for your continued love and support (and patience!)

    Scott