Ok, so now that I talked your ear off yesterday about free will and how I believe God leads us through the aftermath that our choices inevitably leave, I want to have a discussion about the other part of the reader's question (again, everything I'm about to say is my opinion and conclusions I've come to through living it... it doesn't mean I'm right. It's just what makes sense to me). In a nutshell, this is what she was asking me to explain:
If God knew this disease would befall me (because He sees all and knows all) then why would He have given me talents knowing I would later lose them? Why wouldn't He just give me talents that could be used throughout my life, with or without this disease?
I understand this question because it comes from an empathetic person who would have liked to see me spared the emotional pain of loving something and letting it go. I appreciate that. But once again I have to separate the gifts that were given to my body by genetics, from the gifts that were given to my spirit by God.
We are given our bodies from our parents. Those genetics provide us all with the same basic body structures, but different parts of those bodies excel in different people.
Maybe your lung power and your leg muscles have made you a powerful long-distance runner. (I didn't get those genes.) I was given a set of lungs and some vocal chords and an ability to hear rhythms and notes, which just happened to work together to produce somewhat decent singing. All of that is physical... a genetic talent. Now, if you add to it the gift of my spirit, then it adds the ability to feel the meaning of the words in order to bring a level of emotion and feeling to a song.
My vocal chords, strictly speaking, are a genetic gift. It's when I add my own spirit to the song that it begins to make the singing an "experience" ... something that reaches people on a deeper, more emotional or more spiritual level. Do you see the difference? Most of the talent is genetic... the gifts we bring to the talent to make it fulfilling are spiritual.
I had a lot of genetic talents this disease has stripped from me. I used to love to sing, I used to love to dance. I craved being able to work out and exercise. I also used to love to water ski at the lake, and turn cartwheels and do round-offs with the little kids. I used to perform on stage in high school and community theater, I was a cheerleader
and also ran track and was on hurdle relay teams and did the long jump. I had a wide-array of interests and was certainly never bored.
And I can't do any of those things anymore. But ALL of those things were abilities I could perform because of genetics... without my physical body working correctly, it wouldn't have been possible.
But it's the gifts of my spirit, given to me by God, that were there along with my body... and they still remain after the disease has made my body, in many ways, useless.
While I loved to sing... what I really loved was the emotion that went into it and the connections I felt with the people I sang for. While my physical voice helped that along, the real part of that was spiritual and emotional. Those gifts from God remain and I have those moments of connection with family and friends and you blog peeps that come here.
While I enjoyed exercise and physical activities, part of that was a way to burn off stress or deal with things going on in my life. I remember a moment when I was in college and I was walking down the basement steps in the house we were living in... I jerked in pain, couldn't catch myself and fell down the stairs. I was in pain, but I was SO intensely frustrated because I not only was losing abilities, I was losing the physical ways to cope. I wanted to hit something or go running or even obsessively clean to keep busy... but I couldn't do anything. My physical/genetic body failed me, but God never took away the gifts of my spirit.
I still had the desire to think analytically and write my thoughts so I could learn how to deal with them.
I still had the desire to be positive and find the good amidst the bad.
I still had the desire to learn better ways of coping... He provided me with patience and fortitude and understanding and compassion and empathy.
Genetics took away some talents, but God never did. This disease has taken things from me, but it can't take away the spirit that God put inside of me... the core of who I am... as long as I choose to nurture that side of myself. But like everything in life, because of free will, it's my choice. One I'm grateful I get to make.