I received some very bad news this week. One of my very closest ministry friends, Patrick McGoldrick, has been diagnosed with ALS. I have learned more about ALS in the last couple of days than I knew in the last couple of decades. The current average life expectancy from diagnosis is two to five years – although 25% of those diagnosed live longer than five years.
Patrick and Dena have been important and influential friends in our lives. When I was a youth pastor, I had no closer youth pastor friend than Patrick. Twice a year we hung out together for a week at a time through our youth ministries. We even went on the same mission trip together with our students one year (2000). I grew up with Dena and our families were close friends – so she and I have known each other most of our lives. Patrick and Dena were also our primary influencers on our view of parenting. We watched them parent their first child and told each other, "I don't know what they are doing, but we are going to parent like that!" And we asked a lot of questions and they influenced us in a huge way. Although in recent years, we no longer see each other every year – Patrick is still a close, dear friend and my heart is breaking for him and Dena. and their two great kids!
I also find myself overwhelmed by how much I hate living in a fallen world. I hate that we live in a fallen world where disease comes to those who love God. I hate that we live in a fallen world where death separates families. I hate that sin doesn't just impact the sinner. Sin that entered the world through Adam impacts all of us. And it is painful that my friends, Patrick and Dena, are living such painful consequences of living in a fallen world.
I am experiencing a lot of sorrow this week over this news, but not as one with no hope. I have a great and eternal hope! And so do my friends Patrick & Dena! But this week… I'm just sad.