Saturday, August 30, 2008

A New Set of Wheels!

I'm a 75-year-old kid with a new toy. I have a new set of wheels!

In fact, there are six wheels on my new machine -- and I can drive it with a joy stick!

It's a JET 2 -- from Pride Mobility Products Corp.

OK, OK --- It's an electric-powered wheel chair. (I had to train my wife to not call it an "electric chair." That term just didn't charge me with joy.)

Compared to the old style, self-powered wheel chairs, this JET 2 is a joy. I'm eager to get it out on the sidewalks, as soon as we can get the needed ramps installed.

I am grateful to the MDA, ALS Division: they made it possible for me to use this loaner while my personalized electric-powered chair is being prepared.

I hope people are generous in their response to the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon this weekend -- that's where the MDA gets is operating funds. Contributions to the MDA support ongoing research for a cure, and make it possible for ALS patients like me to ride in style.

The MDA and its ALS Division are doing a good work.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Songs in the Night

As a child, I recall many trips where I rode in the back seat of our family car singing “Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go.” All was pleasant and joyful for a time, but the road soon became bumpy, the journey became boring, and my song changed to a whiney query, “Are we there yet?”

In my seventy-five-year life-journey, the roads have frequently been bumpy; some experiences have turned into trials and tests; and the “river” that we all must cross doesn’t seem to inspire a song.

But then, in those memorable childhood travels, it was neither the bumpy rural roads, nor the bridges over Arkansas’ rivers and streams that kept me singing -- it was anticipation of the journey’s end.

However, it seems that even though there is joy in focusing on the goal of my life’s journey, the songs along the way tend to modulate into a minor key.

I must keep reminding myself that it’s the destination – not the journey – that produces a song in the heart.

The lyrics of a chorus I sang as a college student seem appropriate:

You can have a song in your heart in the night,
After every mile, after every trial.
Anyone can sing when the sun‘s shinning bright,
But you need a song in your heart at night.

Songs in the night don’t come from surroundings – they come from what’s been internalized in a person’s heart of hearts. It’s the vision of the destination that produces a joy that blossoms into a song.

Hmmm. I’m glad I wrote this – I needed to read it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Charles & life --

That’s a very broad category.

One of my sons set up this blog for me – name, heading and all. With such an all-inclusive heading, I can go anywhere with my entries.

For openers – a status report.

Nine days ago – days that seem like an eternity – I was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).

Talk about a bomb shell! My emotions exploded with loud heaving sobs overflowing at my eyes with gushing streams of anguish.

It was – and is – difficult to find positives in the face of such negative news.

One positive is that I am in league with the noted Lou Gehrig – the disease is named for him. In fact, it is better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

On another positive note, the MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association: reports that multiplied millions of dollars are being poured into research. The Association and research are funded primarily by Jerry Lewis’ telethons. I might say that I have become one of “Jerry’s Kids” – a bittersweet thought for a man of 75 years.

The most notable positive is that God is still on His throne -- and He is forever faithful. He sent his Son that I might have life, and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

This weblog will become an open journal of my thoughts as I deal with the disastrous diagnosis and search for the mercies of my faithful Lord.

If you like, you can check back on this blog occasionally to see where I am in my journey.