I had just gotten through Lent. I had managed the busy-ness of Holy Week. And I had joyously praised God with my congregations for the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now all I had to do was find a little time to rest and recuperate if I could manage it.
I was in my office on Thursday morning, taking care of a few pressing matters, when a knock came on the door separating my office from the rest of the house. I heard my son crying.
And life changed.
By the end of the day I was in the Janeway, my son now having been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Over the weekend, my wife and I learned as much as we could from doctors and nurses and tried to guide and comfort our 10-year-old boy, who now faced a lifetime of blood tests and injections.
It has been a few weeks since then. We’re continuing to adapt as best we can. We’re still learning. There are times when everything is good. And there are times when things are difficult. But each day passes, and we work and we pray that our son will have the best life it’s possible for him to have.
Occasionally the question arises: why? Why has this happened? There’s no type 1 diabetes in our families. Our son always seemed very healthy, up until the first week of Easter. It seems so random—so out of nowhere.
I know that we’re not the first or only ones to ask this question: not by a long shot. People all over the world ask it every day. In every sickness, in every accident, in every act that causes pain or strife, and in every disaster, people always find themselves asking “why?”. And we seem left with nothing more profound than vague references to “God’s plan” or a philosophical “why not?”.
I don’t carry any illusions with me. I don’t presume to think that I am somehow safe from harm because I am a “good servant of God”. It rains on the just and the unjust alike. I don’t have any answers that satisfy the “why”, and I don’t really think there are any—not in this life.
So, when “why” begins to creep into my mind, I get up and face the day as it is, whatever it is. Maybe it will be a good day. Maybe it will be nothing but a struggle. Most of the time it’s a bit of both. But the faith that I cling to is simple: that in good or bad, hardship or joy, in moments of blessing and in times of pain, God walks with me. He may or may not change anything out there—may or may not make things better (and I tend to believe he never makes them worse), but I have confidence that he helps to make ME better. He makes my joys larger and my sorrows less. He gives me clarity to face what needs to be faced, no matter what that may be. And for that I am thankful.
My son is doing well. We have a lot of support in our parish, and in our family. At times, when he softly cries in my arms, wishing he didn’t have this disease, I stay strong. And later, when I have a moment, I’ll softly cry in God’s arms, because I know they’re always there too.