Friday, August 7, 2009

The Truth Will Set You Free

I concluded yesterday's chapter about my Uncle Glenn with a comment about something he learned. He learned it about himself. It changed him more than he could imagine.

Driven. If you had used that word to describe my uncle back about 40 years ago, it would have been understatement. He worked. When he came home from his job, he worked more. Life for him seemed to consist of endless hours doing back-breaking labor.

When he wasn't actually working, he seemed uptight. Unhappy. Even angry.

Then the day came when he learned the truth. His body was being ravaged by diabetes. He was ill well past any point of experiencing something that felt "normal."

I know that the early days after his diagnosis included the cycle of denial, illness, acknowledgement, treatment, then more denial. Gradually, he came to accept the responsibility that he must permanently change his diet and take his meds so that he could live a healthy life.

It was several years into his "new normal" that I got to know him again. Previously, I had known him as a kid relating to an adult. But when I was in my mid-twenties, my cousin Gary asked me to perform what would be my first wedding as a pastor. That experience showed me a whole new side of Uncle Glenn. Instead of anger, I got to see his humor. Instead of drivenness, I saw him relax with his family. In short, I began to see his heart.

Over the years, it was my privilege to perform weddings for two more Aunt Betty and Uncle Glenn's children. I have been a part of dozens of family celebrations, reunions, get-togethers, and funerals. Each time, I have noticed that Uncle Glenn is a very special man.

Now I get to see his loyalty, his appreciation of others, his faithfulness to my aunt, his love of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Now I get to know some of the life story of a man whose family has endured significant hardship and lived to tell about it.

I get to spend time with a man who got set free by the truth.

The truth in a blood test.

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