It’s About the Ripples: E.D. Mickelberg and Susan Mickelberg Siegfried
The book is divided into three distinct sections the first how and when the co-author Susan Miceklberg Siegfried can in contact with a manuscript written by her father. A nursing student of Erwin D. Mickelberg received this book during her nurses training. Teaching at Augsburg College in the biology department was where he spent most of his working life. At 86, he now suffers from the same disease that took my mom’s life, Alzheimer’s. In the later stages of his illness he recognizes his daughter as his caregiver and is confident that she is someone that can be trusted. Life changes when you become a caregiver and her mother is there seven days a week, 24/7 to attend to her father. With his sense of humor, his fear that something will happen to him and he won’t be able to figure things out, this dreaded illness has no cure and I can tell you first hand shows no mercy.
On page 3 the last paragraph the Susan sums it up quite well in one sentence. “Dad is not Alzheimer’s Disease.” You are right about that. As she shares the manuscript which comprises part three of the book you will get to know more about this man, his work, his teachings and what he hopes readers will learn about his life. Connecting the events in her father’s thoughts and life to that of throwing a rock in a lake and the hole the rock makes in the water disappears almost instantly. But, the ripples it makes go on much longer. Sharing this book we learn more about her father and the ripples as he shares his thoughts, some of his real life experiences and connects it to teaching from Paul. Part Two, which the author shares, is a short biography of her father’s life, career and his family. The last sentence: They both continue to teach us, which is means to love, to commit, to age and to face death,” referring to God and her mother.
The main part of third section of the book deals with her father’s thoughts on The Thirteen Chapter of first Corinthians, which came alive to the author as a result of a dear friend. The thoughts that are shared by the author will enlighten readers to receive: “ a greater personal edification from this great biblical chapter.
I have included the thirteen chapter and the verses for readers before I explain what the author has stated and relate the real life experiences he shares regarding each verse.
“13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
This chapter focuses on live but not just as an emotion as most of us view it but in how we relate to others, our actions towards family, friends and co-workers and people in general. Most of us do not think about her actions before doing something or how they will affect others. People in authority often come on strong. People in leadership positions often take on an attitude that comes across as better than others. We need to care about our actions and realizes how they impact others.
Verse one refers to the different ways people speak and communicate in many different languages. The author shares several experiences that relate to this area. One example was when he went to a 2-day symposium. The meeting was to bring together biologists and theologians so they could inform and hopefully understand each ones’ discipline. Each one telling of his specialty yet not really succeeding. The entire 2-day symposium did not bring them together because each group did not understand the other. The author refers to Paul and his teachings on pages 13-14. He continues with this verse on page 15 where he shares the following that I found quite interesting:
Reading our newspapers about the unhappiness of residents who reside near large airports. The sound of the planes can be hard to handle. Noise pollution is really hard to deal with. The dictionary defines noise as a sound that is “Not musical or pleasant.” Paul the author states compares you and I to a noisy gong or clang bell when we fall to have love in our life. You, all of us are contributing to the noise pollution. He continues with many questions that we need to answer: When you and I speak with our acquaintances and neighbors, do we really speak in love? When you greet a friend and as how they are do they respond in kind? When speaking to someone or answering him or her do we really listen? When serving on a committee that needs to make important decisions we must also show love. There are many more experiences and examples dealing with verse one.
I am not going to site examples for each verse but I will include many of the important ones that I think readers will learn from. This book contains many life lessons shared by the author. In verse two the author relates that there are two kinds of preachers. One preacher aims to save the souls of his people and shows them love. The other preacher is quite different as he creates a much harsher picture and gives the impression that he would rejoice in the damnation of his flock as much as their salvation. In this chapter or verse 2 the author discusses politicians and how they use opinion polls to determine the thinking of our nation. He reminds us of the Gallop Poll and even how the Weather Bureau uses date to predict upcoming storms. Bringing the chapter into his classroom he relates an incident with one of his student nurses dealing with cigarette smoking. The incident is quite compelling and her answer even more. Trying to encourage her to stop smoking or questioning her as to why she did she states: “By the time I contract lung cancer, science will have found a cure for it.” If only that were true. Read pages 22- 28 to learn more. He does state that society is brought face to face with the fact that scientists many not have the knowledge to solve every problem. Paul would states that he may have know and understand all secrets, but he cannot do it and is nothing without love.
Verse 3 focuses on what Paul relates to our material things and to those who are poor. If we give our material things to those who are poor do we do it out of pure love? We have all had times when someone knocks on our doors and asks for money for a charity. Some for different diseases and others for social welfare groups and relates this to the teachings of Paul. Paul points out that charity is a two way street. Charity in many ways is an investment in our spiritual growth. He includes many other examples and how we glorify God with financial gifts, showing love to our neighbors with gifts of our means and Paul tells us that is not enough. Money given to a neighbor or anyone else has to be given to that person even if we disagree with them. Love in this case is given in spite of and not because of and the blessing goes to the giver.
Finally, I will expand on Verse 4 which I found the most enlightening because it explains and expands on the word LOVE. It describes both the good, bad, positive and negatives of the word using many descriptions. “ Love is patient, kind, love is not jealous or boastful.” The examples are many but I would like to site the first one where parents often reprimand their children by stating No, stop it or some other harsh remark. It would be better if as parents you would explain why the behavior is unacceptable and should stop and give the child or children a positive outcome or alternative.
The author relates this to the teachings of Paul and he draws our attention to an important word: Patience. Verse 5 sites examples to why love is not arrogant or rude and does not insist on its own way. Verse 6 states why love does not rejoice when we are wrong but does when we are right. In each verse the author relates the verse to many of his own experiences and to the teachings of Paul. Verse 6 reminds us that we all have weaknesses and that are not always aware of them and need to call our attention to these areas. We hope that others will not see our faults and bad habits as we view them. Chapter 6 focuses on love and that it does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth and Paul states 8 negative behaviors that do not reflect love. Verse 7 reminds us to always protect, trust, hope and persevere. Eight reminds us that Love never fails the final verses focus on: why our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy too. When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away and then the final verse focuses on faith, hope, love abide and that the greatest of all of these is LOVE.
As the author brilliantly states and I will paraphrase: that love is at the heart of the universe. God is love, Heaven is love. Everyone is made to love, to live in love with God and man. With dealing with Alzheimer’s which is quite difficult and hard to understand for the person with the illness let’s remember our faith, hope, love which is the great power of all.
There are many endless ripples that the author has made throughout this book that will go on forever and last many lifetimes.
Fran Lewis: reviewer