To encourage and support those who care for a loved one with Parkinson’s Disease or any other chronic or degenerative disease – that is my goal.
Of Mantras (a statement or slogan repeated frequently)
People ask me how we have made it so long dealing with a disease like PD. My answer is 3 words – faith, family, and friends. We cannot imagine living with a degenerative disease like this without having a strong faith in God. He is our rock and our hope. When this journey is easy, faith is also easy. But when this journey is difficult, that is when our faith is tested.
And in those difficult times, I find myself quoting a mantra that comforts me. Sometimes it is a verse from the Bible, sometimes part of a creed, sometimes a memorized prayer. And in those moments, those truths comfort me.
This week I have heard of several saints who have passed from this life into Heaven, and I have thought of several truths that have become mantras to me.
- “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
- “God is in control.”
- “In life and in death we belong to God.”
- “God bless you.”
- “God is with you.”
Each of these is comforting when we examine their meaning, because it takes the situation out of our hands, and it places our lives into God’s hands. This is the God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and always present everywhere. What a comfort to know that our life and our death are in God’s hands.
Some have suggested that mantras or repeated prayers or phrases are useless and said without thought or meaning. I would argue that when life is hard, we need a phrase, a verse, a song, or a creed, that has become automatic, and that will calm us and remind us of our faith.
I encourage you to memorize verses from the Bible or words to songs that encourage you and build up your faith. Most of us have memorized the Lord’s Prayer, the Serenity Prayer, and passages from the Bible. When faced with a crisis, we will recall those automatically, and our faith will increase.
Music has played a major role in our early lives and in our marriage. Often when I am struggling emotionally, a song will come to mind. Most often it will be a hymn or gospel song I learned as a child. Just singing it, humming it, or listening to a recording of it will give me the boost of faith that I need at that moment.
Yesterday I played the piano for my husband, hoping it would soothe his troubled mind, and it seemed to do just that. I even took requests for a few minutes, ending with a little game of “Name that tune”, which we like to do. Then we moved to the computer room where I played some favorites on YouTube for him. It calmed both of us, and we are so thankful for the place music has in our home.
On this caregiving journey, having faith in God has buoyed me over the years, but especially as we near the passing of my husband. It has given me the courage to keep going. It has kept my head above the waters of depression and despair. And that strong faith comes from knowing verses in the Bible, from praying and having phrases memorized to come back to in an emergency, and from hymns and spiritual songs I have memorized during my life.
When our faith is weak, it helps to talk with friend or Pastor. When our faith is strong, let’s take the opportunity to thank those in our lives who have strengthened that faith over the years.