Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Feeling a bit sentimental tonight

For one, I am touched and amazed by Facebook. So many of my old friends and I have re-connected on it. I have received so many wishes of hope and support both on my "Wall" and in private messages. Also, and to maybe an even more important point, I have connected with people who have intersected my life at some point that I maybe didn't even really know then. Maybe they were an "upper or under classman" at my high school (Patch American High School will always be my high school, even though I only completed through my 10th year there.) Maybe they were someone I knew, but didn't really hang out with or whatever. Time tends to blur the harsh lines that are drawn in those young years by a class (i.e "84 RULES") by a "clique," by a sport or even by one event that no one can even remember now, yet seemed significant or hurtful at the time.

I've never been a quiet one. Lord knows that my penchant to speak my mind, right or wrong, has been both a blessing and a curse over the years. I have offended plenty of people without really intending to for the sake of having a good, reasonable argument about one thing or another. Or in some cases, just because I can be a total dipshit sometimes. In fact, I've probably offended more people by virtue of the latter vs. the former, more dignified manner of offense.

I'm thankful that my friends understand this about me and either humor me well enough to endure, or even better, like to have these squabbles and attempt to fish out a more reasoned understanding tempered by well formed arguments on both sides.

That being said, this brutality called ALS that has been beating us up for the past few years, I think, has mellowed me in some ways. I have always strived to be fair. Now I find myself striving to be good. I don't mean 'Good' in the sense that I'll now be a "good boy" and will concur with and accept a status-quo nurtured by society and pressed by those not interested in, or worse, in fear of change. No, rather, good in the sense that when decisions are made, that they are made with a pure heart bearing in mind the feelings and repercussions my actions might have on others.

There are lots of reasons to do things. These motivators can come from the most righteous and the darkest places. On the dark side live these awful things: fear, anger, spite, hate, selfishness, jealousy, pain, doubt, greed, etc. These are powerful motivators. Take them away from your mind and you can release a level of consciousness that leads to a personal freedom.

Try these: Faith, Courage, Trust, Generosity, Optimism and most importantly Love. That puts a new spin on things eh?

Now unfortunately for us all, we are human. (gosh that was not a very positive statement, but bear with me...) Cancelling the bad and turning on the good is not as simple as that. That's why I used the verb "strive" above (though spellcheck tells me that "strived" is not a word?) So, my friends, if you are reading this, know that I am striving. My circumstances are without a doubt beyond my ability to comprehend. I can't even ask the question "why?" anymore. I can only try to have the faith and believe that there is a reason for this that I don't understand, try to have the courage to stand against the darkness that pushes to command my mind, try to have generosity in the face of a disease that attempts to inspire things like self pity and doubt about our future. Try to keep Love strong in the face of fear and anger and not let them in.

At my 40th birthday party, I issued a challenge to everyone in the room. This was, of course, a rhetorical challenge, as I did not expect anyone to stand up to me on my inspired "podium" at Morton's during a speech at my 40th birthday party. :-) However, I stand by it now, and here it is: There is nothing more important than Love. The love of your family. the love of your friends (who are the family you choose for yourself) are at the top of this list for me. If this one emotion guides your day to day life, you will not be defeated and you will never have anything to fear. It is the only thing you can take with you from this life, and really, the only thing you need.

Some will say: "What about Money" Well, some wise young men once said "Money can't buy you love." Money does not make people happy, there are a massive number of miserable millionaires out there. Without a loving family and friends, the wealthiest man is a poor man indeed. That is an easy one.

Some will say: "What about Faith" Don't you need Faith when you die. Well, yes, I believe you do, in fact, I believe you need faith as you live, but again, the challenge is about importance, not about need. Without Love, you can't have faith in anyone, much less God. So, therefore, Love is more important.

So, more poignantly for me today, some will say: "What about Health?" Well, my friends, without love, Health is a myth. Someone without love is not healthy. Yet, I will tell you this, when health fails, Love endures and it IS what gets you through. Love carries me every day. It is the only thing that I really have right now, but it is all over the place and I feel it. It surrounds us and I know that it comes from you, from within mystelf, from people that are not even reading this blog that are out there sending it and from God.

Thank you for indulging my departure from the story. This, undoubtedly, will happen on occasion.

Peace....and Love to you tonight. B.

PS, I also appreciate your comments and support on the blog, so please do comment if you feel up to it. I know it was easier to comment on the earlier blogs by virtue of the content. Also, feel free to share it with anyone you think it might help. Just cut an paste this URL into an email or whatever.: http://alschronicle.blogspot.com/


  1. Bill, the more I read, the more I see this beautiful love story. Thank you for writing all of this down. You and Heidi are such an inspiration, it has made me a better person. I appreciate life, health, family, and especially my friends more. You two are remarkable. I love you both,

  2. That is a very inspiring post during what has been an unimaginably challenging time in life for Heidi, you and the girls. This post contains sincere words of wisdom and I feel privileged to be counted as a true friend of yours. You have a great network of family and friends alike that feel the same way that I do. Know that my thoughts and prayers are always with Heidi and your family, that I am here for all of you as a friend, and that I am personally striving to be a good person as well.
    John C.

  3. The best gift any parent can give to their children is unconditional love. Your precious family exemplifies this. Every time I drive by your house (which is several times a day!) I say a little prayer. I appreciate all of your candid thoughts, they remind me to cherish everyone that I love. God Bless.

  4. Some try to speak with wisdom; others display it every day. Thanks for sharing yours in a public way that makes us all the better for it. There is more love and energy around this blog than anywhere else I've experienced and I'm grateful to be a part of it.

    Peace and love,