July 20, 2015: Choices

~by Louis Templeman

The sacred empowers us to choose rightly in what seems to be the most choiceless of situations, but it does not and will not determine that choice.

~Sister Stanislaus Kennedy

Last night in a sleepless moment about an hour after I lay down, I had my rosary dangling from my right hand which hung off the side of the bed as I rested on my right side. My left arm was limp over my abdomen as my left hand held on to my right elbow and shook in a regular medicine controlled tremor.

As I lay praying I noticed my right hand was taken by a spasm of tremor, not unlike my left hand used to do several years back when this whole thing began. In my alarm I thought, No, no!” This is just my left hand shaking my right arm. I moved my left hand and I spent the next several minutes positioning my right hand in different ways in an attempt to see if the tremble was in my resting, untouched right hand. It trembled involuntarily once. This is scary, I thought. This is the hegemony of Parkinson’s creeping bit by bit in its cold thoughtless effort to control my body.

I don’t know if I am up to full strength in taking the ropinirole (Requip), but it has made my tremor much more tolerable. I am making a tremor diary to show my neurologist on March 10 the efficacy of the medicine. She has also indicated that at that time she will also start me on a second medicine, an L-dopa type, I think.

As I experience the slow takeover of this disease on my body I am reminded of how like everyone else I am. My doctors and others professionals who care for me could , if they wanted, tell me step by step what disabilities I will encounter and what issues I will face as time wears on. I am predictable. My disease is predictable. Nothing new here. Then why is it so terrifying. It seems to me the medicine I am taking and other treatments yet to be offered are not unlike townspeople filling and stacking sand bags in a desperate and losing effort to keep the flood waters away from their homes and businesses.

I cannot stop what is going to happen. The only thing I can choose is what my attitude will be. Rejoice evermore, for this is the will of God. Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks. Thus advises the Apostle Paul. There is no other choice. Unless I decide to become morose, fearful, bitter and lousy company for people who would soon rather avoid me than visit me.

Many times in my past I have found myself in a dark place. In all those difficult episodes I returned to sanity and peace by finding the light within me to lighten my darkness and improve my perspective. When I found no light within I was rescued by the light of faith which restored my vision. Even though God and his grace were never far away from me I felt lost and without hope because life’s extremities had narrowed my vision and removed him from my field of sight.

In those interior spaces I had to develop methods of survival. On my own I found tools like escape, fantasy, bitterness and addictive behavior. In God’s grace I discovered gratitude will power, hope and joy.

Whether one hand is trembling or two are, I can grasp the tools of survival and resist the trappings of fear.


Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D. Louis has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is fighting the good fight. Much of what he writes these days he is sharing his journey with us. Please keep Louis and his wife Joy in your prayers.

CLICK HERE to visit Louis’ Catholic Journeyman Archive

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