Recently I received the following poetic lament from a dear man who is in our local church. I was so deeply touched by the authentic lament my friend Forest shares, yet how hope and humility fills it as well. Read it slowly, more than once. Add your prayer to his, lamenting and grieving your own losses, yet receiving the grace of encouragement and hope. This is shared with his permission.
There was a man, I used to know;
So fast, so proud, so strong;
I find it hard to understand;
Where and why he’s gone.
I’m trapped inside a different man,
A man who’s weak and slow;
Although I sort of resemble him,
He’s not the man I know.
Where is the one who loved to run,
Even in pouring rain;
The one who hiked up mountain trails,
On steep and rugged terrain.
Once I had athletic balance,
To climb high tree and ladder;
People valued my clear thinking then,
My opinions seemed to matter.
When I talked—people listened,
People understood the words I spoke;
But now my softened voice is garbled,
I can’t read what I just wrote.
Where is that other guy?
Where is he?
I thought he was me?
Where did he go? Where can he be?
Waiting my turn in long check-out line;
Impatience growing behind,
My wallet slips to the floor and spills
Credit cards, money, all kinds!
”Why is that guy taking so long?”
Someone should wind his crank!
Maybe he needs some encouragement?
Or some medication in his tank!
Coffee spilled and papers dropped,
I can feel judgement growing,
My value being silently measured,
By how fast or slow I’m going!
I think sometimes: “No one cares about me.”
I wallow in self-pity,
The future keeps on changing
It’s not what it used to be.
Brace yourself, O son of Adam,
Brace yourself like a man!
For I am creator of all the earth,
I spoke when life began!
“I designed you to bear my image,
I gave you free-will to choose;
Choose this day whom you will serve,
Without chronic disorder excuse.”
“About that proud man you used to know,
Be thankful to bid him adieu,
I rather like the new model better.
For he was designed to be you!”
“Listen! And gain understanding,
For I love you as a son;
Your earthy concerns don’t define your life,
And neither should Parkinson’s.
“Your strength is made perfect in weakness,
And your grace is sufficient for me!
As long as I have the breath of life,
Your grace will be sufficient for me!
Forest Lane, Parkinson’s Man 2016
(image courtesy of Bread for the World)
3 thoughts on “Lament of a friend”
This is just lovely. The image of God doesn’t tarnish, it just matures.
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Thanks Steve, This lament deeply impacts me, challenges me, makes me stop and rethink what I think, or what I think I would think…were it me…Thanks again
Thank you Steve! I remember when I was very ill/ crippled with chronic fatigue syndrome, A friend admonished me, “Is it not enough to exist in the presence of the Lord?”( It sounded better with her French accent.) But I held onto those words until, one fine day, I was healed by the Lord after a friend’s simple prayer. I thought she was wasting her breath. I had been prayed for so many times, this time the answer was yes. I can only testify that, in sickness or in health, blessed be the name of the Lord!