I took Alan to get ice cream today after a workshop.  He was fairly troubled when I arrived at his apartment, and looked at me with suspicion, but seemed happy to get out a bit.

As we drove, he began to tell me that he needed a HUGE milkshake to help him become stronger.  His knees are "weak" he said, and he is tired all the time.

Kenny and I have been trying to tell Alan each time he says something about physical discomfort or loss of strength that this has a name.  It's called Huntington's, and it is a condition he has that is making his knees weak and is making him feel tired.  This is what I did - several times as we drove - but he just stared at me, then began again on the milkshake.  It was close to supper time, so I chose to order a medium shake for him.

He was not happy.  All the way back, he told me what a terrible person I was and that, from now on, HE was in charge of ordering.  He told me he would call the police and get them to arrest me.  I just kept driving, saying nothing, letting him rant.  I hugged him goodbye when we got back to his apartment, and I drove back home.

It was sad to think of my once bright, lively son becoming a paranoid, suspicious man.  It would be easy to give in to the feeling of hopelessness, and to begin to spiral down into the fear of the future.  I thought of how much we love Alan, and how much more Jesus loves him.   I began to think of the sermon on the mount, the story of Peter walking on the water, and as I drove, a poem began to form in my mind.

I'm not a poet, but I like to write light verse.  This one is light, but it filled me with a powerful peace.  I wrote something much shorter and simpler for a friend a long time ago, but this is a re-working, a rebirth of the poem for today.


See the sparrows in the sky:
Observe them as they flit and fly
They never work, receive no pay
And yet, He feeds them every day.

The flowers on the hills arrayed
With every color, every shade:
We cannot duplicate their glory –
Their beauty tells a wondrous story.

The dewy grass that greets the dawn
Is here today - tomorrow, gone.
When sparrows fall, when grass gets rotten
The Father sees: Not one’s forgotten

Worth much more, my friend, are you
Than flowers or a bird or two:
The tears that fall, the whispered prayer
He sees and hears – do not despair.

The rocky road you walk today
He knows, and has prepared the way.
Then throw those cares into the sea.
(Worry won’t make you taller - take that from me!)

So next time you begin to doubt
When you see wind and waves about,
When times get tough upon this earth,
Remember just how much you’re worth.

Deborah Goff - 2012


  1. Deborah,

    I am a big fan of light verse. Simple words can sometimes have the most profound meaning, as is the case with the book of John. I love your poem.
    Michelle Bond Copelin


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