Friday, August 30, 2013

Living with Parkinson’s by Jeff Wiles

In the beginning, there was only a slight tremor. I assumed I’d messed up a nerve…until I visited the doctor.

After a few unsuccessful treatments, my family doctor recommended a neurologist, and in 2009 I was officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. My vision for the future immediately changed. I couldn’t believe what the doctor was telling me…prepare to live on one income…add long-term disability and assisted living to your insurance policy. Despite my inhibitions, he was right. I had Parkinson’s.

Within the space of four years, I was on disability. We sold our dream house, and the medicines and doctor visits presently tax our finances. While I don’t understand why God allowed this to happen, I’ve learned some lessons.

Everything I have is temporary. Immaculate houses and yards will pass away. Clothes will wear out, cars will break down, hair will turn gray or fall out, and muscles will weaken. None of these are eternal.

Another lesson I’ve learned is humility. My outward display of modesty is a disguise for an inner arrogance God revealed to me…arrogance birthed in the many obstacles I’ve overcome. Among them being a weak, lanky kid who was teased a lot as well as enduring the limitations of asthma.

I thought Parkinson’s was just another obstacle to overcome. It wasn’t. And I couldn’t fight the disease’s progression. I eventually realized I was going to have to rely on God’s courage and strength to conquer this obstacle because mine wasn’t enough. I have to remember to trust in the LORD with all my heart and not depend on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). And like Paul, I believe the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18 NKJV). 

And knowing that–knowing where I’m going–makes it easier to deal with where I am.

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