August 10, 2009

Diseases and Blessings

My dad has M.S. This is not a new thing for our family. It has defined our family. I’ve had a chance to watch him fight, accept, and overcome a debilitating illness for 32 years. It could have gone a number of ways. It could have taught me to fear suffering. It could have taught me to roll over when things are beyond my control. It could have taught me that God is unjust. But, oh, what it's taught me instead. I’ve learned from my father that an indomitable will is stronger than any disease. He has shown me that contentment is a choice, unshakeable by circumstance. I’ve seen how attitude can single-handedly shape a life into something great -- with or without your legs. My father has a respect for life and experience and the natural world. He savors things we take for granted and he fights every day for a chance to taste more of it. He treasures and protects his health with a discipline that makes me look lazy on a good day. He loves his God and looks at M.S. through the lens of the freedoms it affords, not the limitations it imposes.

 I had a chance to participate in a fundraiser for M.S. last week and was invited to contribute a piece of art. I wanted to do a calligraphic work with a quote that reminded me of the way my father has embraced his illness and I wanted to share it here. The quote I chose is by Meister Eckhart and it reads:“Everything I see, hear, touch, feel, taste, speak, think, imagine, is completing a perfect circle God has drawn.”

Thank you, Dad, for showing me what that kind of trust looks like.