Several days ago, Andy was tagged to complete the ALS ice bucket challenge. The gist is to either donate $100 to ALSA.org or donate $10 and dump a bucket of ice water on your head. As strange as it may sound, this challenge has spread like wildfire across social media, raising millions of dollars for the cause.
Huh? What is it about video taping yourself squealing like a little girl (manly-men included) that is so attractive to so many?
I think because it’s an action. In the face of something so inconceivable as an incurable disease that leaves the human mind intact while destroying the body, we grasp for something to do about it.
So, people get wet and cold and smile for the camera and ask their friends and family to do the same. In the name of solidarity. In the name of love.
Questions have been raised about participating in this challenge as a Catholic. The truth is, ALSA uses an established embryonic stem cell line for a portion of its research into finding a cure for ALS.
This is a concern…
But, we completed the challenge anyway. Why?
In the name of solidarity. And in the name of love.
Here’s the thing about the internet: Anything you put out there becomes a living organism. It grows, it changes, it can be interpreted and criticized and idolized and hated. It can blow up into something beyond your wildest dreams or fizzle into nothingness.
And this is why I love social media, and why I love the internet.
We as Catholics are free, challenged even, to make this cause one of our own. To take it on. To surround it with love and attention and bring to light the terrible fight that some of our sisters and brothers in Christ battle every day.
After watching this ice bucket challenge (be sure to watch the whole thing, it will make you laugh, then it will make you cry) I realized that people with ALS not only combat their disease, they suffer isolation and anonymity.
Was this not just the entire theme of the Edel Gathering? A group of Moms saying to each other, you are not alone! I see you. I see your struggle and I love you!
In joining this challenge, we tell those who suffer we see you. You have worth and dignity. We want you to be healed, and we love you.
So, what can we do?
What did we do?
1. We prayed. As a faithful people, we believe our prayers our heard, that our prayers change lives. The secular world may scoff, insist that money speaks louder than words, but it remains our belief none-the-less.
3. We educated ourselves. We spent time learning about ALS. I truly believe education leads to compassion. We can now have a meaningful conversation about the effects of this disease and how it affects friends and family.
4. We completed the challenge:
5. We called on our friends and family to do the same. Pray, donate, and dump a bucket of ice water on their heads.
What will you do?
If you’re ready to take on the challenge, but nobody’s tagged you yet, just let me know. I’ll add you to our list.