10/25/12 Warren, about 55
"Is the possibility of heaven something you think about very often?" I asked a man named Warren who was out walking his dogs. "I didn't before, but now I think about it all the time..." he said with a slight slur in his speech, "...ever since I was diagnosed with ALS" I didn't now what this was, so he told me all about it. "It's also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, a degenerative nerve disease that has no known cure." It will debilitate his body, but not affect his mental capacity. "I've been told I have three to five years to live...I've come to accept it, but its much more difficult for my family" Warren was comfortable talking about his own mortality, so I began to ask about his spiritual beliefs: "When I look in the mirror and see my gray hairs, I've come to take that as a helpful reminder from God that my time here is limited, that every day is precious" Warren agreed wholeheartedly. "But not everyone gets so much advance notice. People die in tragic accidents every day without any warning at all. So its an important question to ask - where will you spend eternity if you died today?" Warren told me he believes in God but not in organized religion. We went on to a "normal" conversation about the Gospel - despite Warren's terminal illness. As I often do, I used the Ten Commandments to help him see his need for forgiveness, but because of the sensitive nature of his situation I applied the Law to myself as an example, rather than confront him with it directly. I often do this in situations where I feel I need to be more sensitive to the people I am talking to, such as elderly people who might misunderstand my intentions and feel I am just being disrespectful. Warren said his illness is causing him to focus more on relationships, rather than religion. "Do you feel like you have a relationship with God?" I asked. "No, I just can't seem to wrap my mind around that" he answered. He needed to finish his walk, so I said goodbye, telling him I would pray for him. I hope you will too.