‘Mission Impossible’ Merits a Blockbuster Cast
“To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe, …
To reach the unreachable star, …
This is my quest.”
Last week, my wife and I enjoyed a visit from a dear friend of ours. Interactions with him always have a quixotic effect on my psyche. Just as untold singers have crooned, espousing the imperative from “Man of La Mancha,” he reminds me to “dream the impossible dream.”
I was introduced to Trirong by my wife, Catherine, fairly early in our courtship. He was a local entrepreneur, with interests in a number of endeavors, including ownership and operation of a wellness center. Knowing Trirong well, Catherine believed he could be an invaluable ally in my war against ALS.
Our first meeting was essentially an interview. He wanted assurance that I would be up to the grueling intervention process, which his research had indicated was appropriate. He didn’t want to waste his time and energy on someone not in it for the long haul.
Under Trirong’s guidance, I experienced gains in strength, mobility, and dexterity. More importantly, my association with him reinvigorated my determination that a recovery from the ravages of ALS wasn’t impossible, it was merely not yet realized.
Our therapeutic relationship was upended by his contraction of Bell’s palsy. Although our treatment sessions were forced to end, our friendship continued to blossom, and his sage advice flowed freely. In particular, his emphatic instruction to never give up grew firmly entrenched roots.
Nearly nine years had passed since we last were in each other’s company. Our reunion proved to be a joyous couple of days. Of course, during the intervening time, ALS has rendered me a shadow of the man that Trirong last saw. Yet, during our private moments, he congratulated me on the success I was enjoying versus ALS.
He asked repeatedly how I was doing. Only when I answered with the clichéd, “I am fighting the good fight,” did he seem satisfied. “We can’t win if we don’t fight. I believe that you are going to win” was Trirong’s summation.
Before departing, he asked if I would mind if we prayed together. That, being music to my ears, is just what we did — the fingers of his powerful right hand intertwined with the feeble grip of my left. In our prayer, we thanked God for the blessings of each other, and requested his continued guidance in our earthly journeys and my deliverance from ALS.
Over the course of my work career, I was introduced to many process improvement techniques. One involved identifying the “blocks” that made performance unattainable. By “busting up” these blocks, one could in theory make the impossible possible. That’s what Trirong is for me: a block-buster.
There have been others. My friend David Sherron and I played quite a bit of basketball together during our college years. He continues to do so, as was my intention if not for ALS. David prays directly for me to be healed. He envisions a hard court encore performance for us.
Randy Watkins and I had our bond spawned through participation in a company golf league. Five years into my ALS tribulation, I learned that Randy had been likewise cursed. He and I would pray for each other. Sadly, his case was of a much more aggressive variety. Before he succumbed, he shared with me that he believed I’d get back on the links one day.
Whenever I’m made aware that my circumstance has found its way into someone’s prayer, it is an adrenaline shot to my soul. To be mentioned in a person’s audience with God is, in my opinion, the greatest gift a human can bestow.
Given the intractable nature of ALS, I suspect that many of the prayers, at minimum, are for me to fare as well as could be expected. Some may be so bold as to plead for mercifully slow disease advancement, allowing me to survive until a cure is available. A few may even request an immediate miracle. All are asking through prayer for the humanly impossible to happen.
Realistically, I wonder how many of the folks petitioning the Almighty on my behalf think that my recovery is possible. But their energy fuels my hopes.
I have no doubt that prayer, as provided by the likes of Trirong, David, and Randy, coupled with the exquisite imagery of it being answered have been essential to my against-all-odds longevity. What’s more, prayer fosters the belief that my “impossible dream,” that of permanently ridding myself of the ALS millstone, may one day come true.
When my pastor and I get together, prayer is liberally sprinkled in. Appropriately, Pastor K invariably interjects a phrase referring to God’s will. Fitting, since with God’s will, there’s always a way.
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