I should’ve known it was Mark Twain as I had a great quote come to mind during my early morning pondering today. He is one of my favorites and always a good source of understandable and often humorous commentary on the human condition. I was thinking about my inability to articulate my thoughts at times and how I get so frustrated and impatient with myself and this little bit of personal insight came to mind. It described my dilemma to a T. I believe the Holy Spirit helps the follower of Christ in a number of ways by using educational situations, illuminating the scriptures when they never made sense before, enlightening the follower in unforeseen circumstances, and even using quotes and literature and sometimes music from secular sources to help us make sense of our often confusing lives. Mark Twain’s words often fall into this secular category. Here is his quote:
“Of all the things that I have lost, I miss my mind the most.”
It goes without saying that my mind has taken quite a hit over the past couple of years. Parkinson’s has taken away my ability to jot down ideas when they come to mind thus eliminating the pleasure I found in journaling, highlighting lines in my daily reading, and writing page numbers, ideas, and discoveries in the front covers of my books. I haven’t been able to write legibly for about seven years which does have an upside. When I fail to make a scheduled appointment or miss a hospital visit I can always say, “I couldn’t read the note on my calendar.”
I miss the ability I have to share conversations with others like I used to. Often my inner auctioneer takes charge of my vocal cords and thought processes and the gibberish begins with an accompanying loss of confidence.
I don’t know if Michael J Fox is a person of faith, but I do know the Holy Spirit has used him as a source of encouragement as well as Mark Twain. He has handled Parkinson’s with wisdom and dignity and his words sometimes come to mind. Most recently he shared his experience of giving up on his acting career due to his inability to memorize lines. He said something like this, “It’s something I couldn’t do anymore so I just focused on what I could do.” I related to his words as I too have had to adjust to the new normals that seem to present themselves on a regular basis and I have devised my own quote to go with my point of view, “I can adjust to anything with the power of God.” This has a certain “Paul and the Philippians” ring to it…doesn’t it?
To live is to adjust whether it’s Parkinson’s, ill health, or old age. Paul wrote a letter to the folks at Philippi telling them in a nutshell that life is not always going to be smooth. With God’s strength and wisdom, we can adjust and even rejoice in our individual and common conditions.
Today I am thankful for the fact that God has enabled me to type out my thoughts and ideas. This is something I avoided for years. I gave up on typing in high school when our instructor informed the class that they would need to use their math skills to calculate margins. I “checked out” of typing at that point due to the fact that I don’t do math. Thanks to PD I now type five words a minute and I look forward to Mondays and other times when I can get to my laptop and enjoy this therapeutic endeavor.
Thank you, God, for the lesson learned. To live is to adjust and maybe even celebrate.