I found out on Saturday that a fraternity brother of mine was recently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, or ALS. He is married with three children.
The prognosis for ALS is never good. It is a degenerative disease--over time, the body loses all muscular function.
I have not spoken to him yet. I did not know him well, but my heart goes out to him and his family. What I most notice, though, is my hesitation, my discomfort, my fear. What can I say? What can I do?
The answer may be not much. But I should still try. We shy away from death. We try to deny that it will happen to us. We tell ourselves some version of a story that we will not die. Much of religion serves this purpose. That our fear is unfounded. That there is something on the other side that is much like we have here, only better.
While we have no way of knowing what is on the other side, we do know that we all will die. And that it does no good to shy away from it. Others need our help when they are facing it, just like we will when it is our turn.
I am looking for the strength to reach out despite my fear. I hope I find it.