As ALS progresses, one would think it would be a huge, scary monster that is unbeatable. It affects every aspect of the victim’s life. The ALS patient is unable to be independent; to the contrary, he depends on others for every aspect of his care. It would certainly be understandable if the victim became bitter and angry throughout this process but that is not my experience with ALS. I have found that over time, ALS settles in to its true identity – A Love Story. How is this terrible disease a love story you ask?
We live in a country that values independence and self-sufficiency. ALS quickly strips its victims of both of these fundamental needs. As dependence on others becomes unavoidable, the love story begins to unfold.
Akhil was a pretty independent guy before ALS began to affect him. As the disease began to impair his physical abilities, he had to rely on me to assist him with most routine tasks: dressing, showering, shaving, flossing his teeth… This enabled me to express a love for my husband that I never had a need to express before ALS. As Akhil was cared for, he knew I loved him in a deeper way than he ever imagined.
The love story expands as God reaches out to families dealing with ALS through His people. God nudges the hearts of his people to take action of some sort such as to make a phone call, send a note, take over dinner or help with a home maintenance project. When His people act on those nudges, God’s love overflows to the family suffering. As others serve us, we feel ensconced in love. We feel comforted and loved as we are cared for in a way that would never have occurred were it not for this illness.
We are part of A Love Story that is bigger than any of us. The love story goes beyond our story and into God’s story as He loves us through this difficult time. What is your role in His story?