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Monday, August 12, 2013

Selective Alzheimer's

By A.R. “Ross” Gallaher and David A. Sargent

     “The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease (AD). AD is a progressive and irreversible brain disorder. The actual cause of AD is unknown. AD slowly damages, and then destroys, a person’s memory, judgment, reasoning skills, personality, autonomy, and bodily functions” (http://health.yahoo.net/health/alzheimers-disease-overview).
     A.R. “Ross” Gallaher’s grandmother had Alzheimer’s.  He recently reflected on lessons learned from her illness:
     I loved my grandmother on my Mom’s side of the family because she doted over her grandchildren. No matter what we did, she always treated us as if we were the best children in the world. Our Christmases were spent in South Florida every year running and playing in the orange groves my grandparents owned. She always had more presents under the tree than I have seen in any other family setting because she was such a giving person and also felt it was important to wrap each gift for anyone on her list.
     These images were only enhanced when my grandmother succumbed to Alzheimer’s. The last time I saw my grandmother alive, she was in a nursing home unable to recognize me, my wife Teresa, or any family member including my mom. I could see that Mom was devastated.  It was such a sad end to the memories and the life of this wonderful lady.
     But though she could not remember family and friends, I noticed that she was tremendously happy. Mom explained that in her mind, she was back home in Troy AL with her playmates and the family members she had when she was a child. She did not know that she was an adult; she was back home in familiar surroundings feeling as safe and happy as any child should feel in the loving protection of her childhood home. She had forgotten any pain, hardship, difficulty or loss given to her by life or humanity. Everyone was her friend or possible playmate.
     Though I would not desire this disease on anyone, one element is worth examining for its glorious value...
     Alzheimer’s causes memory loss over time. What would the world be like if we only knew the good, happy memories of life? What would your life and my life be like if there were no bad memories, none? Who are you if forgiveness really did work? What would people say about you if the only parts of your life revealed to others were warm, wonderful expressions of joy and contentment? Life would be blissful; a perfect example of the kind of life Jesus wanted us to have.
     Jesus asks us to forgive because He has offered us forgiveness. Jesus asks us to love because He loved us first. Jesus asks us to have an abundant life because He gave us access to one. Jesus asks us to forget because He has forgotten our faults.
     Given the choice, I choose “selective Alzheimer’s” – abundant life here and eternal life with the one who remembers me as His child.*
     YOU can become God’s child by... placing your  faith and trust in Jesus, God’s Son, who died on the cross for our sins (Acts 16:30-31), turning from those sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  Then, by continuing to follow Him, YOU can experience the abundant life now and receive eternal life to come.
     Won’t YOU accept God’s offer on His terms?

* In loving memory of Annie Mae Childs (Ross' grandmother) and all our loved ones affected by Alzheimer's.

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org



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