Last Saturday morning a group of family, friends, and neighbors from the Cross Plains community made a quick, scenic drive over to Gallatin, Tn for a 5k walk. Its purpose was to raise awareness and give financial support to multiple sclerosis. MS affects the ability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other. While there is no known cure for MS, treatments attempt to return function after an attack, prevent new attacks, and prevent disability. New approaches have been promising.
More specifically our group went to give support to Jo and her husband Kyle. Our contingent alone was almost 100 people! This past year, Jo, who is newly married and in her twenty’s, learned she had MS—much too early in life to be told such. I guess one could put a positive spin on it. You could argue that life, after all, is fair—bad news and trouble comes to us all—no matter the size, shape or station, it’s no respecter of persons. Cindy and I were just sick when we first heard the news. We have known Jo’s family for almost 30 years. We love them.
It was fun being there. Some I knew better than others, but I enjoyed coming alongside everybody that morning. There’s something sacred about walking together, about community. No matter that we are all different—some in better shape, some older, some younger…. You get the picture. It was a hodge-podge of people, a cross-section of life.
But there we were, all on the same path, giving support to Jo and Kyle. Some things were obvious—the orange t-shirts, the walking shoes, and the laughter. Other matters are not so evident, but certainly true.
It reminded me of Prairie Home Companion’s Garrison Keillor. In one of his bits, he comments about his son’s pattern of sitting in his bedroom just listening to heavy-metal blues music blaring, singing out a song that seemed so “wrenchingly sad.” “Where did he learn that?” wondered Keillor. “I give him enough money. I’m a nice dad. We get along well. I give him lots of things. He does well in school…. Where does he get this anguish?”
And then Keillor hits the nail on the head. “I guess we all got it inside us.” Sometimes great grief is hidden behind a brave face or a busy calendar. A loved one dies, a child gets sick, our body breaks down, a job is lost, or a marriage is on the rocks. We all feel the anguish, don’t we? It’s inside us all.
That’s part of what made that morning sacred.