We lost a dear friend last spring: Jim Lightbody. Jim, who died at the age of 86, was a faithful brother. He resided in Lincoln, Nebraska. For over 20 years, Jim sent out a daily reading called, "A Moment For Reflection." I want to share this one, written from his notes by his wife, Donna, from just after his death.
I am often asked how my health is doing, ever since my Parkinson's diagnosis five and a half years ago. Jim struggled with multiple sclerosis, among other things, and his words rang true to me.
Here is his text:
Reflection for Today
Final thoughts penciled on a legal pad
by Jim Lightbody in 1969, 1973, and 1974
10/2/69: Thoughts again turn tonight to the many blessings that are mine and have been given to me. In addition, one’s priorities are reconsidered and some of the things that seemed quite important to you suddenly drop almost completely from your frame of reference. Small and common-place things and events suddenly become more important.
E.M. Poteat made the following statement:
“Count up your conquests of sea and land,
Heap up your gold and hoard as you may,
All you can hold in your cold, dead hand
Is what you have given away.”
It’s humbling because of the fact that one has given so little and contributed in such a small way. The commitment I must make now is to serve God and man in the most effective and substantial way I can. One needs God’s grace for such a commitment.
10/9/69: Keep hoping and thinking that I will begin to feel better, but still having considerable pain and soreness in lower left side. Am continuing to practice the “Presence of God Concept” as described and illustrated by a man known only as Brother Lawrence. Finding it an exciting and rewarding experience, and find it amazing that God can be so close!
I have still left the door open in my own mind that my health problem is something else — despite the disquieting symptoms toward M.S. Time will tell and until then I seek His peace and grace.
I have done some reading on M.S. in several medical books and I understand why Dr. Weston tells me there is a trend toward M.S. It was interesting to note that there is no recorded evidence of anyone recovering from the disease.
I do not view that with alarm or concern because no matter what ultimately happens to me, I know there will be many who are less fortunate than I.
I need to remind myself continually that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord. It is sometimes difficult to properly interpret the meaning of this, but I accept and through faith will believe it. JL
6/19/73: At approximately 12:30 a.m. I had the first experience of paralysis on the left side of body including both arm and leg. It hit suddenly and left suddenly.
Note [from Donna]: Jim continued to record more such experiences for a month— sometimes it happened several times a day. I am not certain when they subsided, but fortunately they did not continue, although his left leg was left very weak and often numb.
His last notes on the legal pad are 9/14/74 and 9/28/74 where he writes about his left leg giving him trouble as we walked to and from the football stadium. At that time we parked in the big parking lot at the City Country Building, so it was quite a walk.
As I have told many of you, Jim never complained to me or anyone about his health issues in all those years — M.S., diabetes, cancer, myelo fibrosis, brain injury. In fact, no doubt there where times when he should have given me more facts.
I hope these few days of excerpts from his writings have given you some insight into how he handled his life. For someone who loved to play golf, tennis, handball, softball, and referee football and basketball, it must have made him sad inside. But he gave them up gracefully and with dignity when the time came that he couldn’t participate.
And now I say, “Good-by,”
“May God Hold You all in the Palm of His Hand.”
Love in Christ,