Months ago, my dad called a family council on a Sunday evening.
In my parents, living room, all nine of us siblings and spouses
listened as my dad began saying that the last time we had a family council
similar to this was when
"Cubby was in her accident almost eight years ago."
I then knew that whatever my dad was going to say was going to be bad.
We knew my brother Topher was having health problems;
his back hurt all the time, and it was beginning to be hard for him to walk.
Occasionally, he'd text us siblings and request our faith
and prayers since he was in a lot of pain and
unsure of what was happening.
My little family began fasting for him every month.
Topher sat at the head of the room with his wife Lisa
beside him and began talking about tests, doctors, and hospital visits,
and then my mind started spinning. I felt sick.
I felt hot but was freezing, and mostly, I just wanted this
moment to stop- especially before he told us
what he had discovered about his health.
Christopher had been diagnosed with ALS.
ALS is a terminal disease with no cure.
Topher and his wife Lisa had known about his diagnosis for some weeks
and had already begun processing what this meant for them for
their family, and for the rest of their lives.
As Toph talked more and more about what ALS meant
I wanted to get up and run away.
I had similar feelings when I was bound and intubated in the hospital.
People would talk to me and about me while I just lay there
frozen, unable to move or speak.
I often imagined myself getting
up in a hulk-like frenzy, ripping all the tubes
out and away from me so I could run far.
So far away that my painful and disappointing reality magically disappeared.
I felt like the faster I could run, the more I'd get better and stronger.
One night, I attempted this and was subsequently given a babysitter
to sit in the corner of my room for the rest of my hospital stay
because I was a danger to myself.
Running away played over and over in my head as all of us siblings took in
Tophers new challenges and limitations.
I wanted to run away right then, and I wanted to take Christopher along with me.
I wanted to throw his cane away, grab his hand, and run out the door faster
and further away from the situation we were in.
"Christopher, run!" I'd yell,
"Faster, Topher! Faster, hang on to me;
your legs will work again, and soon,
your body won't stop; just keep running with me."
After the meeting, everyone went home except
me, Christian, Topher, Lisa, and my parents,
I was crying and attempting to explain to Topher
how I felt about running away.
The use of my dramatic imagery was hard to understand.
But it made sense to me.
We talk and read about Christ breaking the bands (or chains) of death and
I know that one day, our failing bodies will be perfect again.
Christopher and I both believe this because we have faith
and hope and believe in Christ.
The scripture in Matthew 28:6 has come to mind several times
since our family counsel.
Christ has overcome the sting of death through the Resurrection.
I believe this and know through His miracle that Christopher won't suffer
from ALS forever. It will not be the end.
Christopher will be made whole again.
"(Our) loved ones whom we knew to have disabilities in mortality will stand
before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect in body and mind.
What a thrilling moment that will be! I do not know whether we will
be happier for ourselves that we have witnessed such a miracle
or happier for them that they are fully perfect and finally
'free at last".
Now, Christopher is a creative genius.
He acts (Paul in the Bible videos) and has directed
some of the most creative plays I've ever seen.
A few years ago, he directed "Xanadu" (please tell me you know what Xanadu is).
As a benefit for Topher and his family, Xanadu is coming back!!
Most of the original cast are flying in from all over to help raise money.
To get tickets or see how you can help, please go HERE!