“I believe you have ALS” were the words from my specialist on June 27th, 2016. “It’s highly probable.” I think everything else my doctor said the next few minutes sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher “wa-wa-wa-wawawa” if you know what I mean.
Wow, what a bombshell. What a gut punch. What a tough report. All I could think of at the time was the massive burden this disease was going to place on my wife and my children. The last thing I want to be is a burden. How would I tell my daughters I have a terminal disease? How would I tell my parents and my sister the same news? What about my coaching staff and my players? How long do I have to live? When will I need a wheelchair? So many thoughts were flashing into my mind. I mean, I just announced my retirement. You know, fishing, camping, actually watching a football game as a fan for the first time in 30 years - this was a tough blow that tossed a wrench into my plan!
Enter a gracious and loving God, church, family, community, school, team, staff, and friends who have completely surrounded my family and me the past few weeks. The prayers of thousands have sustained us and lifted our spirits to new heights. Yes, we received tough news, but, honestly, I’m thankful and joyful as this outpouring of love and support from everyone is strengthening us each day. The unity displayed by so many - the five rival head coaches who showed up at our prayer service, my friends in the media being so professional - spoke volumes to everyone in attendance! What a grand display of true support and unity! It’s not only been heartwarming, but uniting as well.
My family and I thank each and every one of you for your prayers, cards, calls, fundraisers and words of encouragement because they truly are sustaining our every step. Please continue to pray for us. Pray that God would heal me of this disease and most importantly, that God will be glorified in all that we say and do throughout this earthly journey we are on.
Bonus Blog – Think about this for a minute: Many of us (me) become so comfortable and maybe even complacent with our everyday routine that we lose sight of how God gives us everything we have to enjoy - our time, our talents, our next breath, our families and our jobs just to name a few. Or maybe better stated, we get lost in our temporal lives (our plans) as opposed to focusing on the truly important eternal values (His plans), the things that truly last forever.
We need to be cautious and avoid the mistake of living for our future prospects, assuming we will have time for doing what we want in our retirement (temporal). We have to take all we can out of each day and relish it, investing it in people who are destined for eternity. What would it be like if we looked at each person in front of us as if we would never see them again, as if this were the most important moment on earth?
That’s why I thank God for this journey that I’m on, it’s a reminder to always focus on the journey, not the destination.
Matthew 6:19 – 21
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.