Living as a Dead Man: Life Lessons Gained from Losing One Life to Receiving a Greater Purpose
Recently, I was contacted by one of my husbands friends, Jeff Lester, whom he grew up with in small town Sikeston Missouri. He had written a book and wanted to know if I’d be a beta reader, submitting back to him any thoughts, critiques, suggested edits, prior to publishing.
I didn’t really know him…. Of course I was aware of Jeff and a few basic facts about him. He grew up with my husband, wrestled and played football in school AND, Jeff has ALS, formerly known as Lou Gehrigs disease… I was about to get to know Jeff and his family, a whole lot better.
Once the manuscript arrived, I grabbed my reading glasses and curled up at the end of the couch. As I opened the cover, little did I know that I would be meeting one of the most inspirational people I have ever known. More than that, someone who would not only deeply touch my life but irrevocably change it and my perspective on EVERYTHING.
Is the book about ALS?
“I am just Jeff, making the best of life like everyone else in the world. We all have problems and struggles; mine are just more visible because I have ALS.”
In a word, No. While you’ll read about the progression of the disease, the trials faced and ravages endured, It’s much, much more. Living as a dead man is a story of faith, hope, strength in the storm, light in the darkness, beauty from ashes. But above all, it is a tale of a young man, handed a death sentence, losing every imagined future, aspiration, progression, of the life he had planned for himself..but in the midst, rebuilt a new one and discovering a life of greater purpose.
Am I special? No, I am just like everyone else in this world we share. I am making the best I can out of what I have been given!
Through the story, Jeff teaches us, from the lessons he’s learned, how to focus on the beauty and blessings all around us instead of the things we’ve lost.
“I didn’t write this book intending for it to be a Christian nonfiction book. It wasn’t until I relived the earlier year and the story unfolded as I wrote that I realized ALS brought me closer to God. More significant, I discovered the meaning of life and that we all have a greater purpose. “
As I mentioned, Jeff grew up in small town Sikeston Missouri with my husband. Jeff, a strong young man, wrestled and played football and went on to to college. While in college, with his life ahead of him and plans to marry, Jeff was first faced with the death of his father and Secondly, on his wedding day, Jeff was left literally at the alter!
“The Majesty of the Grand Canyon displays Gods patients creating beauty through flaws. powerful force transforms us forever.”
Then, at the early age of 26, Jeff was diagnosed with ALS and a prognosis of 3 – 5 years. ALS is considered to be very rare although I personally know of at least 4 people who’d had it. ALS usually strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70 with life expectancy of 2 – 4 years. The cause is unknown and there is no cure.
“I learned to not fixate on the tragic parts of life or the potential storms on the horizon. I narrow my focus to the positive elements of my life, appreciating each day.”
Jeff has defied his diagnosis. He’s survived long past his prognosis…God had other plans! Over the next 27 years, the progression of ALS has rendered him a quadriplegic and on a ventilator yet…. Jeff found love, married his amazing wife, Lisa, and fathered 4 beautiful daughters. He was named the Missouri MDA Person Of The Year for his work for the ALS community. He was accepted into the University of Michigan, Dearborn ‘s graduate business program, graduated with distinction with an M.B.A. and a M.S. in finance….AND wrote this book!
“This is why my story was not defined by ALS. God led me to greener pastures as I persevered against one of the worst conditions someone endures.”
“people believe they couldn’t handle my condition. However, I grasp the God given strength we all possess. More importantly, I gained the gift of sight. I see the multitude of blessings God gives me in my two lives, before ALS, and with ALS.”
I encourage you, friends, to read Jeff’s story. I would ask you to support Jeff, this book, promote it, share it….but most of all, buy the book for you, it’ll change your life. See book link below.
I just finished reading Living As A Dead Man as a beta reader prior to publication. I cannot Express how blessed, awakened, inspired, I am for the reading of it. This is a book that will touch the lives of every reader. It transcends any one particular journey or struggle to enrich and fortify the lives of us all, in every journey.. every struggle. It is a story of embracing life, discovering beauty from ashes, purpose in the darkness and unrelenting grace. – Laura Bailey , Blogger @ All The Shoes I Wear alltheshoesiwear.wordpress.com