Friday, December 24, 2010

Everything's OK - Day 24 #reverb10

I'm participating in Reverb10 and here is today's prompt.

December 24 Prompt – Everything’s OK

What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

I've written a lot about Craig Dunham, my friend with ALS who died earlier this month. Craig had a much bigger impact on me than I ever could have imagined. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that almost all of these #reverb10 prompts remind me in some way of him, because so much of 2010 was about what I learned from him, including the answer to this prompt: the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright.

You know how when you whine about something and someone will tell you to put it in perspective? Well, ever since I heard about Craig's diagnosis, whenever I started feeling sorry for myself, there was always that little voice in my head, reminding me of Craig.

I'd feel sorry for myself because I was getting old. Then I remembered that Craig was my age but wouldn't have the chance to get old. I'd feel sorry for myself because I didn't have a partner. Then I remembered Craig selflessly stopped dating as soon as he heard of his diagnosis and would never again feel the excitement of romantic love. I'd feel sorry for myself because I broke my collar bone and I couldn't move my arm. Then I remembered that Craig couldn't move at all... My issues were absolutely trivial -- embarrassingly insignificant -- compared to what Craig was going through.

And Craig never felt sorry for himself! Not for a minute! Or if he did, he certainly never let it show. He was always smiling with never a complaint.

Then my Dad died. Again, I felt sorry for myself. But once again, Craig had it much worse. His Dad died, too, the week after mine, from Alzheimer's. Craig wasn't able to be with his Dad. He wasn't able to be with the rest of his family as they mourned his father's death. They were in Nebraska and he was in Colorado... he was unable to travel because of his illness. I, on the other hand, was with my family and with my Dad in his final hours.

I knew Craig would die, too. It's funny how we always talk about overcoming hardship, reminding ourselves that we will survive! But Craig couldn't even say that. He couldn't say he'd beat this thing. He knew he would just continue to get worse and worse and die. There was no hope that he could overcome any of the hardships he was enduring. How in the world can someone possibly remain upbeat when going through that?

Well, Craig may have been upbeat, but I certainly was not! I cried all the time at the thought of his death. Then the news came that he could no longer eat and I needed to say my goodbyes.

It was that final conversation with him that I knew. Everything was going to be OK. He was not going to survive, but everything was going to be OK. That faith of his was so strong. He didn't have a bit of doubt or fear in his face. He was full of peace and reassured me with his eyes, that everything was going to be OK. Better than OK. He knew he'd be in eternity with God.

I have always wished for a faith as strong as Craig's. I know I'm no where close. But witnessing his faith helped strengthen mine. Just like I knew there was a God the moment I held my baby, I felt sure at that moment...during that last conversation with Craig... that he would be with that God after his death. And I realized that no matter what happens, even when we don't survive, everything is going to be OK. In fact, if we're anything like Craig, it's going to be downright glorious.


shirlsd said...

catching up on my reverb10 reads. i feel so very fortunate to come across your post (and blog). your statement of but witnessing his faith helped strengthen mine very, very much moved me - love your authentic expression of your experience with and love for craig. i am literally in tears- having read your final conversation post. thank you for being so open and for sharing this.

tj said...

This was lovely; I'm so glad you directed me here. Thank you.