The Sound of Silence

The only thing worse than going silent is for no one to notice.  Fortunately, that is not my case. Many caring individuals have inquired into my absence in the blog arena.  I thought a health update might be in order. So, here we go.

As you know, ALS is a nerve disorder which affects muscles.  For the past two years my voluntary muscles have been deteriorating.  Presently, I am confined to a wheelchair. I can shuffle my feet some, but no more walking.  A fancy electric wheelchair allows me to roam around our property and give my grandchildren rides.  I am amazed how quickly they learned that the joystick controls all the excitement and power.

My voice is reduced to garbles right now. My family’s ears are accustomed to my mumbles and they understand most of my limited speech.  I find that parents of small children do better at understanding me; their ears are finely tuned. Come visit me and test your skills at translation and charades.  

Typing has become extremely more difficult these last couple of months.  My fingers don’t work correctly and sitting at my desk requires neck and upper body strength which is no longer there. Presently, I am typing this note propped up in my bed using an iPad and two styluses. I have several blog fragments left unfinished because of my limited finger control.  I would dictate but the computer can’t understand me any better than my friends. Maybe this new arrangement will get me writing again.  

I no longer eat or drink. All nutrients and water are taken in via a bolus feeding tube.  Five times a day someone pours me a drink, or rather, pours a drink in me. I get plenty of calories; I have actually gained a little weight back. I went from 175lbs to 125lbs and now I am up to 135lbs.  Just call me “Chubby.”

A new muscle annoyance these past few months has been in my mouth and face.  Due to less jowl muscle, I have less control over my jaws, so I constantly bite my lips.  In the big scheme of things this is minor, but it is the horsefly in my stall right now. I told my wife that I was going to have my teeth removed; I don’t need them and they are now a hassle.  Her sad look made me quickly reveal that I was joking . . . and I couldn’t get a good price for them anyway. 

One bizarre side effect of my mouth muscles is that I am swallowing large amounts of air. I used to do this intentionally as a child when I wanted to form a colossal burp.  What was annoying then for those around me is now annoying for me. The 60 year old body doesn’t manage air like the 10 year old body.

Fatigue is gripping me more these days. I sleep a lot.  It would be worse if I had a long list of chores piling up; fortunately, no one is expecting much from me these days.  This helps assuage my sleep guilt, but I am having to get used to being a slug.  

And so, my “outer man is decaying, but the inner man is being renewed day by day.” The apostle Paul wrote that phrase to the Christians in ancient Corinth. He was discussing suffering brought on due to his life as a servant of Jesus.  I find it encouraging that quality of life is not limited to the outer man. We are more than our flesh.

The other day I came across a piece of paper where I had written, “Born once/die twice. Born twice/die once.” I am not sure what those notes were originally for, but they are applicable now.  Jesus was speaking to a religious man one evening, and He told this gentleman that he needed to be born again, a second birth. Jesus went on to explain how this happens. He used a part of Jewish history.  When Moses was leading the people to the Promised Land, they were extremely rebellious, filled with grumbling and complaining. A consequence for this was the arrival of venomous snakes. People were being bitten and dying.  They quickly saw the connection and came to Moses in repentance. God instructed Moses to create a snake of bronze and wrap it around a pole. If the sick people looked upon the snake on the pole, they would be healed. Then Jesus said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up.  That whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.” Then Jesus said these famous words: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

If we are only born once, our flesh will eventually die and our spirit will die with it, the second eternal death.  But, God, rich in mercy provided eternal life. If we are born twice (body and spirit), we will only die once. Our spirit will live eternally and be given a resurrected body!  This happens through repentance, looking to Jesus who was lifted up on the cross. There is our source of healing and life.

My body is dying.  My lungs are now functioning at 24%.  Respiratory failure is what normally kills the ALS patient.  But, I do not fear this valley of death for I am alive within and will live eternally. This is only by the grace, kindness, and sacrifice of Jesus.  I can’t keep silent about that.

24 thoughts on “The Sound of Silence

  1. your words are a treasure. I pray for you when you cross to the other side. I thank you for letting us in on this journey you have been on and pray for your family.

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  2. John, we love you so much! We are so blessed that our son married your daughter and was welcomed into this wonderful family of yours. God has graciously given you such great wisdom, humor, and faith throughout this trial! It is truly super-natural and astounding. And though your voice may be silent, I think you speak more loudly now than you ever have before. God be with you.

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  3. John, we are praying for you! I’m always amazed at how you put such a cheerful, even humorous spin on what must be an excruciating experience at times. It demonstrates the fact that your inner man is indeed being renewed by the Lord day by day. Praise the Lord! Thank you for sharing this update. It helps inform our prayers for you!

    God be with you, soldier,
    Andria Alexander (for Todd and the boys, as well)

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  4. John, your words are profound, powerful, and bold. It is easy to see that you were, still are, and will be the vessel and servant God chose you to be. I’m thankful for what you poured into our family, especially our children. We continue to grow as we reflect on what you shared with us. I pray that I see life as you do, through clear glass and not that of cracked glass. It’s clearly evident that you see and speak the beauty of our Father from your heart, through your words, and definitely His Word. Thank You!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mr. Geiger, you are a true blessing to all you know you! Thank you for sharing your love and faithfulness for our Father. You are truly amazing and loved by all! Reba Summers

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  6. John, I truly enjoy reading your Blogs. They are very uplifting to me and bring peace to my heart in spite of the motivation. My grandfather had ALS so your descriptions of challenges bring back many memories… Please know that your words still have tremendous impact with all of us reading them!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As difficult as it is for you to communicate, you persevere and we are blessed to hear your heart. Your testimony is powerful and I don’t have words to adequately express what it is like to see your faith, your love for the Lord and the gospel continually set forth. There has been, and will continue to be, much fruit from your life and your journey. We love you!

    Melinda

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  8. John, your words are incredibly inspiring. I thank you for allowing us, your friends, to share these days with you. I love you and continue to pray for you and your dear family!

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  9. John, I am praying for you my adopted brother. I want to thank you for all the great memories we had growing up. I love you John. From your older brother Joe.

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  10. Dear John, even as you are slowly being taken from us, you are still giving life to us. Bless you, dear Brother, for the life you live in the Spirit that brings refreshment to our souls. How we love you and your precious family.

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  11. John, Thank you for your blog. The Lord gave you a great gift of constantly seeing unseen spiritual realities, and the ability to share them clearly and effectively, and we’ve enjoyed that over so many years now. Thank you, despite the challenges, of telling us about the trials and lessons before you. You may be silent vocally, but God has given you a loud and effective digital voice. I count it a great blessing that we DeHuffs have all been within your circle of influence. Your courage and strength in your trial is proof to us that God is mighty and faithful. We love you and are praying for you and for all the Geigers!

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  12. John, even though you are frail now, the Spirit of God continues to shine through you as you encourage us toward Christ. This has been God’s gift that you have given to those of us who cherish you and have witnessed your faith-walk for years. You still are an inspiration and a source of joy! Thank you!

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  13. John thank you for this blog, you taught me about our Lord in my youth and still today you continue you inspire and encourage me you are truly love forever in my thoughts and heart dear friend

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    1. Hi Lori! I have wonderful memories of you as a teenager seeking to know and follow Christ. Now we are older and trying to do the same. I read all your FB posts and see the pictures! May our Lord care for you and be the strong Bridegroom for you each day. I miss you! Much love. John

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  14. It’s so good to hear from you through this blog! I’m very glad you have a much greater future than a past. To God be the glory. I’m encouraged. We love you Mr. Geiger.

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  15. It goes without saying (so, why am I saying it then?I dunno–like to hear myself talk?–or rather like to read what I have typed–this is quite a parenthetical aside Bart, are you off your meds again? I dunno. Who’s asking?) that you and your family are in our prayers. The Harmons love John and Dawn and all the Geiger clan. How much you guys have blessed our family and continue to do so.

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