Although I am currently disabled and must deal with the physical demands of my disability, I know God blesses me on a regular basis. My relationship with God has grown closer since my disability began. Let me take you back to the beginning. I was born with a disease/malformation called omphalocele. Basically, my digestive system was outside my belly. In 1957 no other child had lived long with this illness. My mother deserves tons of credit for not giving into what some doctors were telling her. She found Boston Children’s Hospital and Dr. Shuster. After a series of 16 operations, the doctor actually wrote in his notes that he came in to check on me and found everything (the digestive system) had fallen into place. God is miraculous. I lived, and now they fix children born with this issue in one operation possibly while still in the womb. I have had other bumps and bruises during my life. My arm was caught in a mechanical Hamburg blender, but somehow I did not lose my arm and have regained full use of my hand. Again I thought God had blessed me. Unfortunately, alcoholism runs rampant in my Irish family. I have lost a father and sister to this horrible disease. With God’s help I have avoided this. I believe God has intervened for me physically.
At 50 years old, when my disability began, of course I became angry and mostly at God. After the first surgery I remember waking and seeing a geyser coming out of my belly and rising a full foot into the air. Then, spending a week in intensive care and another in a regular room, I realized God had not abandoned me and I lived. I was sent home with this very large hole in my stomach. I have since gone through five more surgeries. I live now with eight smaller holes in my abdomen and wear several colostomy bags to catch the fluid exiting my body. Difficult yes, but livable.
What has been harder was the loss of income. I was finally making good money and then it stopped. My wife and I were drowning in bills and believed we would have to sell our home. God again came to our aid in the form of friends from church and our priest. They ran a fundraiser for us and we received enough to pay our bills and survive until disability checks began.
Several years later my wife became disabled after taking a fall on ice at our church. After surgery to repair all the broken bones in her ankle, she was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. This is an illness affecting the sympathetic nervous system which causes her pain, sometimes extreme, every day. When this happened, God came through again. People arrived at our house with food that I think lasted for a month. People we did not even know prayed for us and bought us wood for the winter. One day we were visited by a bishop, a priest and a lawyer. We laughed about how we had such important visitors all in one day and how for a day it made us feel important too. Money still gets tight but then God blesses us again and something will happen to take away the stress.
Now our lives are filled with young grandchildren (5 and counting). We babysit 2 boys a lot and what joy they bring. Want to see the look of God’s Love? Look at the children’s faces: their smiles, the light in their eyes. God is there. I know this.