Two disciples were making their way to a village named Emmaus. In the course of their lively exchange, Jesus approached and began to walk with them. They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning inside us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:13-32).
Of all the Easter stories, Jesus, this is my favorite.
They came to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray. My soul is sorrowful even to death." He prayed to his Father: "Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will." (Mark 14:32-36)
Were you frightened in the garden, Jesus? You knew they were coming to get you, but did you know what would happen next? I guess you knew some of it because you knew the scriptures. But you didn’t know how it would feel, how it would hurt, how degrading it would be, how lost you would feel, how alone you would be. Your fear must have been overpowering.
I’m frightened because I have Alzheimer’s. I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I don’t have any idea how I will feel when I can’t remember who I am or what I’m doing and my thoughts are confused and my emotions in turmoil.
Did you wonder what your friends and family would do when you were taken away? Would they know how painful it was for you? How could they know? Would they try to help you but find they could do nothing to change the course of what was to come? Would they be fearful for their own safety? Would some of them abandon you?
Doctors diagnosed Jane McAllister with Alzheimer’s disease eight years ago. Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. It cannot be prevented or cured, its course as inexorable as the events leading to the passion and death of Jesus. Some 15 million Alzheimer’s caregivers provide 17 billion hours of unpaid, loving care each year. It is not uncommon for patients and caregivers to wonder: Where is resurrection in a disease that takes away our very selves?