Morgan Hooper's Sermon
The Faith of a (Once Wounded) Mustard Seed
Morgan Hooper October 2, 2016
Church of the Holy Comforter
What would you do if you were 14 years old and told you have a life threatening disease for which there is no cure? Hi! My name is Morgan Hooper and I am a Type 1 Diabetic. My journey started when I went with my mom and sister to go see the midnight premiere of Hunger Games Catching Fire. I was severely dehydrated and it felt like I had a cold. The next week was Thanksgiving and I kept getting worse. The cold symptoms started turning into severe flu symptoms and no matter what medicine I took, I was not getting any better.
The day before Thanksgiving, I started feeling nauseous. By Monday December 2nd, my mom decided to call and schedule an appointment with my pediatrician. We went to the appointment, hoping that I would get some strong antibiotics and be sent home. By the time we got there, I had declined even further. I had trouble breathing, and I felt like I could go to sleep at any moment. I was shocked to find out that I had lost 20-30 pounds without even trying. I found out later that the weight loss was caused by the lack of insulin in my body. My body could not use the carbohydrates that I was eating for energy, so it ate away at my fat and muscles.
The nurses ran a bunch of test and stuck us in a room. After we sat there for a while, the doctor came in and said “You do not have the flu, you have Type 1 diabetes. Y’all need to get to the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. I’ve already let them know you are coming. You need to go NOW!”
I will tell y’all the truth. I don’t remember anything after “You have Type 1 diabetes”, I was told the rest. I was in so much shock that this was happening. My parents were in shock too. They kept a happy face while they were around me but as soon as they were alone, they broke down.
On the way to the hospital, the only thing that I could think of was that I must have done something wrong. I was afraid that I was being punished somehow by God. I didn’t know why this was happening to me. I couldn’t think of anything that I could have possibly done to deserve a disease that was never going to go away.
Once I was at the Children’s Hospital, I was immediately put into the pediatric Intensive Care Unit. I stayed there for two and a half days, and I was up on the regular floor for a day and a half. While I was there, I learned how to manage my Diabetes and I learned why I got so sick. But most importantly, I learned that I did absolutely nothing wrong. Type 1 Diabetes is not something that you give to yourself; it is just something that happens. I was not being punished for something that I did.
I just happen to be one of the lucky ones. Once I realized this, I started to get better spiritually. I accepted diabetes and learned how to live with it. I learned how to give myself shots of insulin. The very first shot of insulin that I gave myself was in the hospital. I hesitated a little, but I did it because I had to. I learned that in order to never be that sick again, I needed to embrace this new aspect of my life with everything that I had.
In 2nd Timothy, Chapter 1, verse 7, it says “for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” I came to the conclusion early on in my diagnosis that it was going to involve a lot of self-discipline and bravery to do what I needed to do in order to keep myself healthy. I didn’t know it at the time but I was beginning to live into those words.
When I was first diagnosed, my daily routine consisted of 5 finger sticks to check my blood sugar and 5 shots of insulin. I did shots for about a year, which added up to 1,825 shots. But who’s counting? Sometimes those shots would be in the middle of a restaurant or some other public place.
The biggest fear that I had when I took a shot in public was that someone was going to thing that I was doing illegal drugs. So, in my best attempts to prevent that, I would go to the bathroom to give myself the insulin. The longer I had diabetes; I realized that going to the bathroom to inject myself probably wasn’t the most sanitary thing to do, so I started to just do it at the table. I decided that I had to do what I had to do.
For the past two years, I have had an insulin pump, so I only have to stick myself with a needle every two days. But I still have to check my blood sugar and calculate my carbs at every meal.
In our Gospel today, Jesus tells his disciples “ if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could tell a mulberry tree ‘be uprooted and planted in the sea’ and it would obey you” When I read this passage, I think that something as small as a mustard seed could do great things. My diagnosis is a kind of mustard seed…..
I hope to use my knowledge and experiences to help other children with the disease. I want to go to college and get my degree in nursing. After I have completed that, I am going to become a certified Diabetes Educator. I hope to do fun things to help teach children how to manage Type 1 Diabetes, like taking old diabetes supplies and turning them into art.
So what am I doing up here? I am just telling my story. We all have adversities. Some are life threatening, like Type 1 Diabetes. Some threaten our spiritual life and try to kill the soul. It doesn’t have to be that way and I’m living proof of that. Amen.
Morgan Hooper is 17 and a High School Senior.