He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. 
Isaiah 40:29-31

This past week allowed me to step back and take a look at all the blessings that God has bestowed on me. In what many would call dark days, I was once again reminded that when I turn back and see one set of footprints, it is God who is carrying me.

This week began with sadness, extreme sadness. One of my students was found deceased after having been missing for two weeks. I felt I had let him down when a month earlier we talked about his struggles academically. I wish there was more that I could had done for him. I second-guessed each decision that I had made for the student. Seeing the Christmas light display that night hit me with a double dose of sadness between the eyes.

On the street that my wife, her parents and I visited was a synchronized display of 58,000 lights. This display was described as "wonderful" and "neat" by the occupants of our car. All I could do was tear up. While the others were marveling at the patters of the dancing lights, I was imagining which of the 58,000 lights was me. You see, the man who created display did it to create awareness of Parkinson's disease as 58,000 Americans were diagnosed in 2014, including me.

It finally hit me. I have Parkinson's disease. Here was a physical representation of a group whose membership I didn't audition or interview for, but for reasons only known by God, I was now a member. 

The following day was just as difficult as the night before as I spent the day with other faculty members who knew the student that passed on. Again, I was second-guessing. But one thing I didn't have to second guess was God's love. I didn't have to second-guess my wife's love either.

Jean provided me the space I needed to grieve for my student. She sensed there was more than that and she waited for me to work through this sadness. She held my hand and touched my heart. She didn't ask what more she could do nor did she tell me what to do. Her holding me told me that it was ok to feel this way. And then she told me a story about how she told someone about our life with Parkinson's. Then another asked her what she could recommend as their brother-in-law was just diagnosed with Parkinson's. She shared with an ailing friend that we have been praying for her every night. Every night. And then it happened...

Hope.

Hope in the Lord renewed my strength to face the disease. Hope displayed by the man who created the display and who has Parkinson's too. But most importantly, Hope that God gave us when he sent His Son to save us from our sins.

May your everyday be blessed with hope, mine are. May you soar on the wings of eagles, may you feel His strength.

And may you, your family and friends have a Blessed Christmas!

For more information on the Christmas light display, please visit http://www.pdshimmers.com/ and click on Live Stream.