Decades of suffering with a degenerative disability (MS) caused me to deal in the currency of my soul. (It is what makes us human and defines who we are.) With God's leading, I was able to cross a raging river of grief to discover a new self. The old Mark was gone as surely as if I had died. I needed to grieve that loss and search for a new self and self-identity. A new Mark emerged—different to be sure—but no less alive or vital than the previous Mark. My soul answered Yes to the critically important question: Is life worth living, even in what seems to be hopeless circumstances?
Viktor Frankl was a survivor of Nazi death camps. In his remarkable book "Man's Search for Meaning" he wrote: "Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose."
My wheelchair was like a prison that housed my broken body, but it also helped liberate me spiritually by driving me inward to deal with inner brokenness. I came to understand that my value is not connected to who I am, what I can do, or even my intelligence. It comes from simply being. Everyone has immeasurable value for no other reason than they were endowed with the indelible Image of God at the spark of life we commonly call conception.
Frankl also wrote: "If there is to be any meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering."
There is. ...
I will be seventy this year. Most of my adult life has been spent struggling with the anguish of multiple sclerosis and creeping paralysis. In 2018, God unexpectedly raised me out of my electric wheelchair to walk again. What am I to make of it? My interior life is in full bloom. I have placed all of my life in His hands. I am finally willing to accept whatever is His will for me in 2023, and beyond. It is a peaceful place to be. That is the meaning that suffering gave to me. Happy New Year! — Mark