Being called

10/26/15 Perhaps my choice of seating at church this Sunday is a precursor to my future physical abilities.  The second row on the left front is informally reserved for a group of senior ladies, some of which have health issues.   That’s where I sat, right there in the second pew with these longtime matrons of the church.  At first I did not notice my location included me with the group.  But it did.  I tried to stand taller, to appear to not belong as time and illness has decreased their stature.    I tried to look strong and indepentdent as I noticed how they helped each other with sweaters and coats, reaching for hymnals and getting a Kleenex from a purse on the floor. These ladies also assist each other in getting to and into the church. These women have no men left in their lives to assist them I guess.  And where is my man? He is up on the alter assisting the priest.  So I am seated right where I belong. With the women who have been lifelong friends and care for each other.


Today the scripture teaches us  about Jesus healing yet another blind man.  But in this reading, and the only time in the Gospels, we learn his name.  Of all the people Jesus comes in contact with, why do we get to learn this blind man’s name.   It is because  Jesus calls to him. Bartimeus.

 I used to think that it was pure luck when I was in the right place at the right time for something good to happen to me. So much good happened in my life.  I was a self proclaimed “Golden Girl”.   Over a short period of time the plans I had for my future changed  dramatically.   I know now what I should have then. It’s all  a part of the Master’s plan.   Bartimeus was there because it was in the plan for him to answer when Jesus called. The bonus for him was he could now see.

The scripture passage told us he stood up and flung away his cloak

The cloak is as significant to this story as learning his name is Bartimeus.  He could hide in that cloak, covering himself, protected from the world. And the world was protected from seeing him.

It’s hard to look at a person with a disability. It takes love, kindness, compassion, understanding.  Some of these traits are inborn, some learned and sometimes never learned.   I have a hard time even looking at my own body.  Media represents the human body as perfect, without deformity or blemish. It’s just not that way for me. When my skin crawls and I want nothing more than to crawl out of it, I want to hide. When my hand or leg tremors uncontrollably I want to hide.  Once upon a time I was a lean and muscular athlete. I could run very fast.  Now I am chubby and flabby and slow. I want to hide. Dyskinesia are setting in and my body wiggles and twists.  I want to hide. 

It wasn’t that hard to sit with the ladies of the church after all. Although their souls exist in worn out bodies, most people can look at them. They have thrown off their cloaks. They do not hide.  There have been times when individuals have sat in front or in row two on the left and it hasn’t been easy to look at them. As I sat in the second row I decided it was time to throw off my cloak. 

I have Parkinson’s Disease.  I cannot hide it anymore. I don’t want to. Jesus called me out of the crowd.  My crowd included  successful beautiful hardworking peoplle.  Jesus granted me the courage to have this disease. That’s a weird thought, being granted courage to have a disease.   After my diagnosis  I did not get angry for awhile.  When  God the Father told me to do something good with it I didn’t rebel. My anger let loose a few years later, on the Camino de Santiago. It was 15 days into the walk when my soul reached this desolate spot.  I stood out on the Meseta on the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain in over 100 degree heat and screamed at God,  letting loose my anger until it took me to my knees. He listened.  God listened.  He said to me “Carol look where you are. Look what you are doing”. I stopped my wailing. i took a look around.  Blue sky.   Miles and miles of wide open vistas.  I realized that while most of my friends may be home right now … on summer break …lounging in their air conditioned house… reading novels and eating Bon Bons I was walking 500 miles across Spain.  I saw in myself a new strength and a new courage. I could do this thing called El Camino.  And I knew then that I would be ok with this disease  Do something good with this. God the father said. 

So I did.  And I do. 

I have thrown off the cloak.  Now, you can see me. I am visible to you in my strength and in my physical challenges.  

 In a way, they are the same thing.

Published by Carol Clupny, author The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman's Remarkable Journey with Parkinson's Disease

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, was published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage. Ab Here is more about me; I was living an active lifestyle riding horses, hiking, climbing and snow skiing when at age fifty she was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Retiring from her career as a speech-language pathologist she decided to “take to the road” to battle the disease. Her first steps, walking out her door to the mailbox, lead to trekking over 1000 miles of pilgrimage trails on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. A dusty bike discovered in the garage resulted in four rides on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with the Pedaling for Parkinsons Team. These adventures inspired her to write a memoir The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease. Carol blogs about her everyday life as a middle-aged woman in the mid-stages of Parkinson’s disease. Her honest, humorous and casual narrative style brings the reader to an intimate understanding of Carol’s resilience and acceptance. Her blog, sharing the name of her book ”The Ribbon of Road Ahead” can be found at www.ultreiablog.org After completing a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University Carol received certification in School Leadership and Administration from Lewis and Clark College. She provided speech pathology services and was a program director for 32 years in the wide geographic expanse of eastern Oregon. Active in the Oregon Speech-Language and Hearing Association she received honors of the association and the presidential award for her work on recruitment and retention of speech and hearing professionals. Carol presented numerous papers and projects at local, state and regional professional conferences. She was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to two terms of the Oregon Board of Examiners of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the state’s licencing and consumer protection agency. Since her diagnosis in 2008, Carol has become active in the Parkinson’s Community as an advocate, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and support group facilitator for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. She was appointed the regional patient representative for the Parkinson's Foundation’s Women with PD TALK study. In September of 2019 the Michael J Fox Foundation selected Carol to participate in the Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington DC. As an attendee at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 in Portand, Oregon, Carol presnted a poster session examining the decision making process for patients considering deep brain stimulaiton. At the 2019 WPC in Kyoto, Japan she presented a poster on vision concerns of women with PD and lead small group discussions. Her book The Ribbon of Road Ahead has provided many speaking opportunities for Carol. In 2019 and early 2020 she visited 24 support groups in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California to share her thoughts on living well with the disease. In addition, she has presented talks for The Center on Aging in San Francisco, Parkinson's Place in Las Vegas, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in Richland WA and virtually through their HOPE online program. In late 2020 she rejuvenated her voice and narrated her book. It became available as an audio book in 2021. As part of this project she read stories over the airwaves on RadioParkies Australia with DJ Madonna and in Great Britain with DJ Johnny Parky. She and her husband Charlie have two adult sons. They live on a small hobby farm in eastern Oregon. Contact Information: Carol Clupny PO BOX 128, Hermiston, OR 97838 caclupny@gmail.com (541) 720-4256

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