Parkinsons brings a lot of unwelcome firsts.Recently it was the first time I had to ask someone to cut up my meal. There were three of us out for lunch. A beautiful cut of meat lingered on my plate. The steak knife was sharp. But my tremor meant all I could manage was a constant chinking of the knife against the ceramic of the plate. I concentrated every ounce of energy I could summon on making that bloody knife cut through the succulent meat. But all to no avail. Finally admitting defeat, I asked my friend if he could cut it up for me, which he did graciously and without embarrassment.
I take medication that helps control my symptoms. The meds take about an hour to kick in and gradually wear off over the next five hours. How glorious is the first hour or so after the meds have taken effect. The stiffness in my muscles, the tremor in my hand, the shuffling gait, the deadpan face, all dissipate almost to the point of non existence. For 3 hours a day I get to remember what it’s like to be in control of my body, to be able to cut through my meal, to walk freely, to type with both hands, to hold my wife without the tremor of my hand tapping constantly against her back, to get out of the car with ease.
In those three hours I glimpse the resurrection. The New Testament declares that a time is coming when we and our world will be remade, that the resurrection of Jesus was the prototype of the future of creation. Those three hours each day when I experience freedom from the dysfunctions of my disease and the frustrations it brings, enable me to taste the future. How delicious it is!
I scarcely dare hope for a world where war has ceased, poverty is but a memory, violence and hatreds have given way to love, pain and suffering to pure unadulterated joy, and creation is healed. But for three hours every day I get to see it, taste it, smell it. If Parkinsons has unwelcome firsts it also brings unexpected gifts, and this has been one of the chief of them.