Bike MS: Riding for Allegra

I should call this “Riding for Lig.” After all, that’s what we called her.

Lig was my aunt. A few decades ago, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Her mobility decreased with each passing year, but her spirit never failed. She passed away this past January. She is the main motivation behind my decision to participate in Bike MS.

I read these words at her funeral and I’m thinking of them again tonight as I prepare for the ride tomorrow.

Rest well, Aunt Lig.

***

Though Aunt Lig’s physical body was confined to a bed for the past five or so years, but her mind and spirit still traveled far and wide.

Each week she made a trip back to Pennsylvania through her phone calls to her brother, my Dad. Sometimes she would ask him about an incident in town or the death of someone they knew – even before Dad knew. She must have had better sources than the reporters at the newspapers she loved to read.

Those newspapers are probably how she knew more about restaurants and stores opening and closing anywhere within the Greater Columbus area than my cousins, Lisa and Tom – despite the reality that she could see no further than the window of the home she shared with them.

And, I guarantee that every Saturday afternoon in the fall her mind and spirit were on the sidelines at the Horseshoe or at whatever stadium her Buckeyes were playing in that day.

She had an uncanny knack for remembering even the smallest conversation about something someone wanted and, long before online shopping was popular – she mastered the art of finding it in a catalog. Sometime – who knows when – my Dad mentioned that my Grandmother was looking for a pair of binoculars. When we visited her at Thanksgiving, she had a pile of Christmas presents ready to send back to Carlisle. Among them? A set of binoculars for my Grammy.

Increasingly over the past year, her spirit traveled back 6,106 miles (as the crow flies) and 2,000 years to the dusty roads of first-century Israel as she read her Bible. In its pages, she saw the compassion of a Savior who loved and healed the sick. I imagine, more than any of us, she understood the magnitude of that compassion.

She wrote this in the cover of her tiny New Testament:

God’s love can not be measured by the degree of our health.

I’m sure there were times that she desperately wanted to feel that healing touch from the hand of Jesus, but her faith gave her the strength to go on though the healing never came. Well, no. The healing did come. It came in the way it comes for all of us who call on the name of Christ.

When the code blue rang through the halls of Licking Memorial Hospital, the angels of heaven sang a welcome home for a child of the King and those who went before her – her parents, my Mom, cousins, aunts, uncles – greeted her as she WALKED through the gates of heaven. Completely healed. Completely whole. Realizing at last the truth of one of my favorite songs:

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

Today we don’t say good bye. We say, “until I see you again” because, as the apostle Paul said, we don’t grieve as those who have no hope.

Lig knew that and I think she would want us to know that. There’s another sentence written on the title page of that little Bible of hers:

“When a Christian dies, he has just begun to live!”

***

It’s not too late to donate to my ride. If you can’t afford a donation, send me your prayers instead!

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