Pegi Bricker: I only want to see you there


By Pegi Bricker

Guest columnist

After being on hiatus for a few months, I’d love to touch base with you, my faithful and most encouraging readers.

As you know, The Tribune has gone through much recent change. As the world of print changes, I’ll quote my husband, “They are taking me kicking and screaming into the 21st century.”

My friend, Lori McDonald, retired from reporting for The Tribune, and while I am happy for her new reality, I miss reading her work in The Trib and her always uplifting emails after I submitted my columns. Other changes were inevitable, like less paper and more internet news, obituaries, classifieds and opinion columns. Yes, I am an avid reader of obituaries. Yes, I have written my own, just in case.

As a child, I remember my daddy being one of the smartest people in my little princess world. He knew a little bit about everything from gardening while never having grown anything in the soil. He knew about weather patterns while never attending university. He knew advice about all sorts of social issues, economics and anything political.

The only books I ever saw him read were Ian Fleming Bond books and anything about cowboys. He did read consistently to me out loud Ann Landers, Jerry Baker and Dick Wolfsie with his longtime best friend, Barney. Dad read The Indianapolis Star every morning and the Indianapolis News every evening.

One of my happiest memories of childhood was on Sunday mornings before church when my brother, Paul, and I would dogpile Mom and Dad still in bed and beg Dad to read “The Funnies” to us. The comic pages were in color and they seemed huge to me, and my mom never failed to remind me that baby Trixie was born to Hi and Lois the same year as me. She’s still in diapers to this day. I am 62.

Newspapers have always been a part of my life. In high school, I worked on The Inkling, our version of all of the news that was fit to print, in the late 1970s in our quiet college town of central Indiana.

When Lori accepted my request to print a column written by me about life with multiple sclerosis, I cannot tell you how excited I was. I love to write. I love newspapers. But MS is a real pain in my buttocks.

MS is unpredictable, even on my best days. I am a mom to an Eagle Scout, so I know preparedness. My question is how can I be prepared for the inability to walk, to have persistent debilitating fatigue, incontinence and the intense ebb and flow of swarms of fire ants crawling up my legs and all through my arms and hands. You just can’t. Once again, I quote my husband, the incessant pessimist: “Prepare for the worst, and if you can, hope for the best.”

I am an incurable optimist. I don’t have time for the doldrums, and thanks to modern pharmacology, I don’t have to be tempted by the depression that so often plagues many with diseases like MS that simply do their best to steal one’s joy.

The DEA has reduced the supply of certain drugs by 25%, so there now is a supply shortage that makes my limited comfort possible.

I read with great concern and interest the 35-page report on the drug problems in Jackson County. Even though I work with the ladies in the Jackson County Jail by lovingly visiting them and worshiping alongside them with Resurrected Ministries and attending weekly Bible studies with the ladies in the Jackson-Jennings Community Corrections Work Release Center, I still am shocked by the extent of the drug epidemic that surrounds my family and me.

Do you know how to eat an elephant? Do you know how to save the world? Do you know the answer to the meth, heroin and opioid problem? My answer is one bite, one person, one precious soul at a time. I am not sure allowing me and others with chronic devitalizing pain to suffer 25% more is the answer.

This is my current dilemma: I believe others are in the same boat, a boat with holes, damaged rudders and broken sails.

I’ll probably get some blowback from this opinion, but that’s how I see life currently for better or worse. I am not addicted to drugs, but I depend on them for relief, mobility and cognition. They are not my joy. They are not my peace. They are not my hope. I consider my plight one of those various trials the Apostle James teaches us about in James 1:2-4. They test my faith, producing the perfect work of patience in me, which when I count it all joy, I see I really am becoming mature and truly do lack nothing.

1 Peter 1:6 says in my words to rejoice greatly even though I need to suffer grief and trials of all kinds for a little while.

Jesus tells me in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me, you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”

Paul says in Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patience in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Do I? Am I? Let’s say I have a “mansion builder” who ain’t through with me yet. Like my dear friend, Jess Moss, taught at RM chapel recently, change is painful, but change cannot really happen without pain, sometimes a lot of pain, sometimes perhaps only minor attitude adjustments.

It is cold, slippery, slimy and seemingly spinning out of control on my potter’s wheel, but I trust the potter. I trust his promises. I rely on his grace. I believe in his word. I love his son, Jesus. I take comfort from his holy spirit. His faithfulness is my confidence.

I only want to see you there.

Pegi Bricker is a Seymour resident who has lived with multiple sclerosis for the past 20 years. Send comments to [email protected].

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