sharing beauty and looking for hope in a challenging journey #ALS

1-IMG_3017Thus far 2019 has been going well regarding the commitment Rebekah and I have made to up our game in terms of cultural engagement. We have enjoyed theater, art, music and more. Then Sunday afternoon we wrapped up our weekend with a photography exhibition.

But it wasn’t just an exhibition, it was also a fundraising event for ALS research. The artist, Andrew Ross (a professor of photography at Radford) is deep into his journey with the disease, and I want to devote today’s post to this subject because it has recently touched the lives of people we love (as has MS).

Facing a difficult diagnosis:

Simply put, ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that impacts nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. At the moment it remains a devastating and irreversible diagnosis. Click here for more information. My cousin Marion in the U.K. recently lost her husband to motor neuron disease, and now a beautiful family at our church is facing the beginning stages of ALS.

Gayle and John Akerman

So when Gayle and John Akerman invited us to accompany them to Sunday’s photography auction in Chapel Hill Rebekah and I saw this as the perfect opportunity to learn more, to support ALS research, and to enjoy the company of good friends.

I appreciated the artist’s ability to look into his subject matter with a sense of clarity that bores deeply into the heart of whatever he was photographing. It reminds me that when I write I don’t want to limit myself to the surface but to have an incisive eye that invites each one of us to think more deeply and to make more room for learning, and wonder, and transformation.

Peace and Comfort:

For Andrew Ross, and for his family, there is the knowledge that a piece of him, art that represents his view of this world and a window into his soul, will now be hanging on the walls of people throughout the Triangle.

My prayer is that the balance of Andrew’s journey will be marked by peace and comfort and that – because of his open heart and courageous struggle – the ALS Association will be able to take positive steps, rise to the challenge, be encouraged, find answers and move forward in the direction of healing.

Peace, in every way – DEREK




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