Thanksgiving in my favorite Holiday. It is the day I met my Wife. It is a day my Mom and Dad ate Thanksgiving diner on the USS Stein (DE 1065) with my Wife and me after I came home from our Vietnam deployment. Thanksgiving, if celebrated correctly, can connect us to God's intention for us that we live our lives being thankful to our Creator, for everything in our lives, and everything in the World. From the simplest single cell organism to the most complex machine. God created everything, for His Glory! That is what Thanksgiving Day should be centered around.
This Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for God's grace in my life. I have Lewy Body Dementia and it has progressed more this year that any year before. On the surface, that frightens me. But, taking a more prospective view, it has been a slow progression up to this year. That is a blessing. Yet, I know the disease will not slow down again, so this next year will be even more challenging.
Speaking of my days on Navy ships, like the USS Stein. Recent discussions on this blog have discussed courage. I have faced my experiences with LBD the same way I faced danger in the Navy. Trust me, it is dangerous to be a Sailor on a Combat Ship of any type. Ammunition, mooring lines, swinging water tight doors, hatches, and scuttles, moving equipment, replenishment at sea, all done on a ship that is rolling and pitching, with wet decks, many times in the dark, and all the time being tired from long hours on watch and longer hours doing your professional job. The bottom line is, I chose to run, face first, into the challenges of the U.S. Navy! I tried to never show my fear. As I promoted into Leadership positions, gun mounts that failed to fire, broke live ordnance into large pieces and turned equipment designed to move heavy ammunition quickly into the gun bore into unrecognizable shapes, all became a normal part of my life. But all of these things and experiences could be learned, improved on, and passed on to others.
My experience with Lewy Body Dementia is something I am trying to pass on to others. But not to make them better but to make their experience better. But, I cannot get better at having the disease or learn to do this better. Instead, I have learned quickly that I cannot beat Lewy. It beats me at every turn. I have never been overwhelmed by something in my life like I am by this disease. I always knew I would be defeated by LBD. But now, I know, I have already lost. That is where I am not courageous. If I were, I would continue to fight. And I did fight for the first years. But now, I do not have the energy or desire to fight this disease.
I have no idea when God will take me home. I do know He is in charge. My life was planned by Him before I was formed in my Mother's womb. Lewy Body Dementia was in that plan. I will not try to change God's plan for my life. I will try to serve Him as long as He enables me to. When God is done with me, I will go home.