Life Goes On

“Life Goes On”

Whether we’re going through the worst of times or the best of times, history and our own experiences show us that life does go on. This is true, but I don’t recommend saying “life goes on” to someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one.

“There is an appointed time for everything.
And there is a time for every event under heaven —
A time to give birth and a time to die…
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4)

I thought about the above passage last week when our daughter gave birth to a beautiful seven pound girl on Wednesday, then a close friend died of cancer on Friday – “A time to give birth and a time to die.”

Those who are grieving and those who are rejoicing have this in common – life goes on for both of them.

life goes on quote
It was a beautiful Friday afternoon in 1996 that the neurologist informed me that I had ALS and would likely be dead in three or four years (so much for predictions). I vividly remember driving home that day in stop-and-go traffic. I was exhausted after three long days of examinations so Mary was driving and I spent much of that long drive home staring out the window at the other drivers. I imagined that they were thinking about dinner or maybe they were making plans for the weekend ahead. In the midst of horrible news, when it seems that our life will never be the same, the world seems like such a cold and cruel place when you look around and realize that life goes on just as it always has.

Compared to life’s great highs and lows, day-to-day life can seem so trivial. When we experience the extreme highs and lows, we tell ourselves that we’ll never again settle for the trivial life. But our emotional or spiritual highs and lows gradually find their old balance, and we return to a mundane normalcy. I think this is the root cause of much of the addiction and depression we see around us; “life goes on” is difficult for many people to cope with.

What’s the answer?

Even for someone that’s been paralyzed by a horrible disease and can no longer eat or speak, “life goes on” can be a great message if you truly learn to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)

I try not to focus on the personal and professional “highs” (or the financial gains) that I’ve missed out on over the last 19 years. Instead, I make a conscious effort to focus on the good things in my life, like our beautiful new granddaughter, and to share in the highs and lows of others. Living vicariously through others is not the life that I envisioned, but years ago I concluded that the only alternative was to throw a pity party and make myself and everyone around me miserable. I’ve been to several pity parties, and I didn’t like the company (me, myself and I) or the hangover of guilt.

Life is hard, but it’s much easier if we surround ourselves with people that won’t only rejoice with us in the good times but will also support us in the difficult times. I’m so thankful that Mary and I have family and friends like this.

For my daughter, her husband, their son and their beautiful baby girl, life goes on.

Lauren and Peyton 2
For the family of our friend that passed away last Friday, life goes on.

But the great news is that the friend we lost was a committed follower of Christ so life goes on for him also.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:27-28)

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain…” (Revelation 21:4)

Life goes on!

About Bill Sweeney

In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his blog shares a message of hope in Christ - Unshakable Hope!

Posted on September 3, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 143 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on God's Kid Speaks and commented:
    Deserves a re-blog. <3

  2. I came across this post again, reread the comments and found mine. You still are our hero. Still ministering, even in an old post, still have a soul like SUPERMAN in my opinion. Oh how I wish I knew how to make these posts into a book for you! Actually for everyone in this world! It is like going to church opening up any of your posts and settling down for a good read.

  3. I wanted to come back to this post, Bill. As we approach Thanksgiving, I wanted to say how grateful I am for your inspiration. May God give you continued strength, and bless your entire family.

  4. I’ve revisited this article several times…and I find myself loving it even greater with every new visit! The part I take back with me each time is: “I make a conscious effort to focus on the good things in my life,” How we begin & end our day truly is our choice, isn’t it? I love that you remind me that it is a conscious effort…I must not let go that although God is at my side supporting, guiding, & guarding it. is. I, who must make that conscious effort. Each. Day. Thank you my friend…

  5. Yes, it does! What great perspective you show here, especially so, as you demonstrate your own faith and tenacity. A lot of wisdom in this post. 🙂

  6. I’m sorry I missed this post when you first published but am quite glad I stopped by today and read it. It was very moving but also absolutely brilliant in its simple yet very profound analysis of life in that it does go on no matter what. You’re ability to rise above very difficult circumstances and communicate so beautifully the lessons learned is so encouraging for us and a strong testament to your faith and of Christ alive inside you. Many blessings to!

  7. You are a man of great faith, Bill. It can be humbling to read some of your posts, but is always deeply edifying. Thank you.

  8. Bill, your life is an agent of change for many, including my own. You are lifted in prayer often. God is so totally using your story to write others. The lives you live through vicariously may not be so vicarious… You’re driving them, you’re in them! Thank you for being part of my story. For inspiring. For being a light and example as my dear friend’s dad was diagnosed with ALS two years ago. Life may go on, but there’s always a sweeter side to be found. Enjoy that precious little girl.

  9. Every post you write makes me say, “oh this is my favorite!” You’ve done it again with this one! Thank you for your gift and testimony. Congratulations on your beautiful granddaughter!

  10. Yes!
    It indeed goes on…
    with the Lord on our side, his constant companionship, his wonderful and glorious promises, and His beautiful heaven awaiting us. Life goes on with Him at the center of it all.
    I like this one!

  11. As life goes on I realize more & more how grateful I am for the hidden surprises that await around the corner for me to discover…& how grateful I am for the impact these surprises have made on my life. Writing my own blog has meant so much more because of the other “bloggers” I have met as I traveled around those cyber-corners to discover the profound inspirations that have helped to change me (I pray for the better.) Always know that as life goes on…just how much I love your honest sharings…to the moon & back!
    Congratulations on the addition of your beautiful new grand-daughter to your family. Blessings!! Dawn Marie

  12. I love verse John 10:27-28. Well, they are only 2 out of ALL of God’s word that I love. They are certainly at the top of my list of favorites though! Good write up!

  13. You are an incredible example of encouragement, faith and God’s grace…thank you for being such a bright light to the hearts of many…..thank you for taking away our excuses to not press on in spite of our circumstances….blessings!

    • Thank you very much, Kim. Your comments have encouraged me.

      • That makes me smile Bill. – The way you deal with your situation reminds me of a poem/song I wrote a few years ago that states, “Lord as I walk through this fiery trial, let me be not afraid, let me count it all joy, let me be a bush burning but not consumed, that others may stand in awe of You, that others may glory in You.” Thank you for being a bush burning but not consumed……blessings upon you and your house.

  14. What excellent perspective!

    When our life or the life of one that we love hangs in the balance we get a laser-like focus on what truly matters. My spouse was nearly killed one day at work by flying bullets. Those moments change our perspective and the course of our lives. If we never experienced those moments, would we ever really value the blessings we have?

    I also remember on 9/11, just after the watching the second plane hit the towers, I asked my mom if she thought it was safe or prudent to keep my chiropractor appointment. She told me to go. It was surreal how cheerful and oblivious the doc and his receptionist were. They went about as though 3000 people hadn’t just been wiped off the face of the earth. I was shocked and unsettled by it.

    Life does go on and it’s a good thing, but I appreciate those moments when God figuratively puts His arms on my shoulders and forces me to stop and consider.

    I appreciate this post very much. May the Lord be with you!

    • Thank you for your comments, Elihu. I’ve come close to death several times and it will definitely change your outlook on life. Looking back I now think my “almost died” experiences probably had a lot to do with my making a commitment to follow Christ – life is so short and so fragile.

  15. Congratulations on your new granddaughter!! Is this your first one?

  16. I wrote something here. It’s short but I’m proud of it. I thought you might like it Bill.

  17. Bill, I’ve nominated you for a Sunshine Blogger Award! To accept, and for a quick run-down on how to accept this life-altering award (hyperbole added for emphasis ;>), go here:

  18. Amen thanks for this message, its not easy but we just have to keep pressing on

  19. I always find your posts very moving, Bill. This was no exception. You are a man of enormous courage, deep faith, and great compassion. You and your wife Mary have shared immense hardship, yet made a loving home. That’s quite an achievement, in or out of a wheelchair.

    Your post reminded me of Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying”. The song talks about priorities, and how we take time (and the people we love) for granted until time runs out on us.

    But if, like you, we place our trust in God come what may, we can at the end be sure of our destination.

    Congratulations on the grandbaby!

    Your friend,


    • Thank you so much for your encouraging comments, my friend.
      Thanks also for introducing me to that song, I’ve never heard it before (I’m so out of touch) – just watched the video on Youtube.

  20. What a beautiful photo! Great article too. xx

  21. Reblogged this on Antiquarian Anabaptist and commented:
    I want to share this encouraging post from a man who is being true to his decision not to let his disease define who he is. No matter what our circumstances, if our desire is to help and encourage others, God will provide opportunities to do it.

  22. jacquelinegwallace

    Thanks for following my blog! I hope it will be encouraging, as yours is to me and my friends/followers for whom I reblogged “Life Goes On.”

  23. Be encouraged in love, faith and hope.

  24. God blessed you with 19 years to be an inspiration to all who come in contact with you. The days do get hard. After 67 years of living with polio, I find my days are getting tougher. The only thing to do is get up and go. From the start of each day to the finish I love spending time with family and friends. It is possible for me to do many things that even others can’t do. Or won’t try to do. Believe me, I know that I am blessed as well. Congratulation on your beautiful gift from heaven in the form of a grand daughter. I will enjoy my oldest grand daughters volley ball game this afternoon. Also a grand sons football game. God is good all the time. All the time God is good.

  25. Your chapter of life in this post is so true. The same thing happened here to my family. When My father passed away, my cousin gave birth to a baby boy. That was thirty years ago now.

  26. Your words never fail to move me and to reinvigorate my faith, Bill. I hope know how many people you are affecting with your insights and encouragement, and I look forward to spending time with you in the Life that goes on…forever!

  27. lovely mother and baby-blessings!

  28. Bill and Mary,
    Your love and support, prayers and friendship, your encouragement and your strong faith are such a great blessing to me, my family and friends! Thank you so much for your words and thank you so much for your life and the gift to all of us! It’s been hard to actually realize what has happened in this past week or accept it? I lived it, I was there, but I can’t believe it. Peace is here and was there then. It has been a complete God thing and continues to be. Thanks to all the prayers from family and friends! I hope to see you soon and I thank God for his new life in grandchildren! When our grandson Dane was born 4.15.15, the next day 4.16.15 we were told we would be on hospice. Ron got to know him over 4 months before he went on to the Kingdom. Glory!!! Life will go on and we will all pray for our nation for our children and our grandchildren, share the good news and be sure we are ready to go on to Heaven and see our loved ones again!
    Appreciate you and your family! Blessings and Grace and LOVE!!!

    • Thank you for your comments, Jennifer. I’m so sorry for your loss, Ron was a good man and a really nice guy. You and Ron have been such a big support to us throughout our trial. I’m so glad that you’re feeling God’s peace and comfort during this time of grieving. I’m also glad that he got to spend time with his grandson. I got to meet our new granddaughter this weekend. She eats and sleeps a lot 🙂
      Looking forward to seeing you sometime soon.
      You and the boys are in our prayers.

  29. You are leaving an amazing testimony … let me rephrase that, you are living an amazing testimony for your children, grandchildren, family and us, who get to read your blog. Bill, it’s people like you, who through their humble ways, and who live this life in obedience and close to the Lord, help us stay encouraged. As this life keeps going on, I am thankful today for your words, God inspired and full of lasting truth. One day you will see those rewards that God has stored up for you. I can’t wait to talk to you then, hear your speak, and have some tacos (ok, not sure about the latter… though I heard rumors there will be a feast!!!).

  30. Beautiful and so true. Thank you for sharing this Bill. You are an inspiration to many of us, but you point us to The One who makes it possible for each of us to ‘go on’ in this life – no matter what – knowing that the best is yet to come and will be forever. Bless you as you ‘go on’ too. May you share in that joy that Jesus died for us to have…

  31. Your authenticity and courage are beautiful to behold. Thank you for choosing to share them with us. Wishing you many moments of joy with your grand daughter!

  32. Thank you for posting this very encouraging message, Bill! I have reblogged it to Angelsong in the hopes that it will bless many others as much as it has blessed me! I thank the Lord for your life and for the wonderful inspiration you are to us all. You are truly one of Christ’s brightest gems, reflecting His love, light, and truth to this dark world. Glory to God!
    May you and your precious family~~~congratulations on your new grandbaby!! ~~have a wonderful Labor Day weekend! 🙂

  33. as always you speak to my condition……..thank you for giving so many the gift of your life.

  34. Thank you so much for this message today! When going through the ‘grey days’ of life going on (and on and on) it can be easy to lose sight of where we are going.

  35. I’m not sure what else I can add to what’s been said above. What a testimony you are. I will be praying for strength – to breathe and to overcome any other challenges that may come your way. Your granddaughter is beautiful. What a gift!

  36. Bill, congratulations for your beautiful grand-daughter. Sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. We rejoice and praise the Lord that he is in the presence of the Lord.
    Thank you for your inspirational and thought-provoking article combining both events to encourage others.

  37. Beautiful words! And congratulations on your new grand baby!

  38. Thank you for your beautiful soul…your post brought tears to my eyes. I understand your message to my core. Many blessings to you <3

  39. You are indeed blessed and indeed a blessing !

  40. Wow! Absolutely beautiful post so full of the kind of truth we need to keep in our heart every day! Blessings brother!

  41. Beautiful granddaughter, beautiful thoughts and beautiful post. So sorry to hear about your friend, but thank God that they are home with Him. How glorious heaven is going to be! All of us together in that place where life goes on without anymore sickness, tears or sorrow. Only joy, gladness and life abundant!

    • Thank you, Megan. Yes, the more I read and learn about heaven and compare it to this fallen world (murder, rape, war, child abuse…), I’m so ready!
      “No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
      and no mind has imagined
      what God has prepared
      for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

  42. Congratulations on your new granddaughter. I’m glad you are able to share in their joy.

  43. What a beautiful granddaughter, Bill. Congratulations! And thank you for this post. It ministered to my heart in this difficult season that my husband and I find ourselves in. I’m so thankful for God’s peace that passes all understanding. God bless you and your family.

  44. Congratulations, Bill! …It’s interesting that you have had the same company in your pity parties as I have had in mine! Me, myself, and I sure do get around! 🙂
    There’s another companion I enjoy so much more– that One who is always so ready to go through with me whatever I am going through, and weep with me when I am weeping, and rejoice with me when I am rejoicing!

  45. Bill, you are SUCH an encourager! Thank you for sharing your wisdom to forego the pity-parties and throw a positive-party instead, especially to celebrate the joys and successes of others. I’m celebrating with you the positive impact you have on everyone who knows you, AND that precious little baby who will soon call you Grandpa! (Or do you have another moniker for the grandkids?)

  46. Envy is a killer of joy. Thank you for the timely reminder.

  47. New life! What a blessing to you, Bill.
    Thank you so much for your constant encouragement to press on in this life.

  48. Congratulations on the beautiful granddaughter Bill!
    When life turns out not to be the one we would have chosen, its easy to become bitter. I love the way you have received your plight and continue on with life in spite of it.

  49. Bill,
    What a blessing that your soul is stronger than many bodies I have come across and that soul of yours has become the HERO for many! I’m glad you are in my life reminding me of my blessings. Thank you for sharing yours. She is adorable!

  50. Thank you for writing these posts! They are always encouraging & a blessing to my life. Congrats on your beautiful granddaughter! Sweet picture!!! And I’m sorry about your friend, but glad you have the peace that he is really living now and with Jesus. Linda Menaugh

  51. Life does indeed go on… As you say though when someone is grieving it’s not the best thing. My sister just lost her husband of over 55 years and she is paralyzed with grief. It’s so difficult to see her like this, but I’m praying that it will ease some and that she can see that for her ‘life does indeed go on.’ Diane

    • Thank you, Diane. I’m sorry your sister is grieving the loss of her husband. Mary went to the funeral of our friend yesterday and said it was so difficult to see his wife (her long-time friend) grieving.

  52. What a beautiful granddaughter, beautiful post, and a beautiful attitude, Bill. I’m sorry your time with your friend was cut short on this side of Heaven.
    These words of yours are wonderful and worth quoting: “I’ve been to several pity parties, and I didn’t like the company (me, myself and I) or the hangover of guilt.” So well said.
    Blessings to you and Mary ~ Wendy

    • Thank you, Wendy. I’m sure most people, even healthy people, can relate to my comments about pity parties – I attended them even before ALS invited me 🙂

      • Bill, I try to avoid pity parties by listing off things I’m grateful for. I’ve got a few memories of hangover headaches motivating me not to fall off the thankful wagon. Grace gets me back on track when I trip. I enjoy your sense of humor. 🙂 (Praying for your breathing.)

        • Yes, Wendy, listing your blessings is key. Our blessings are never invited to our pity parties 🙂 Another thing I do (when tempted to go to a pity party) is make a conscious effort to compare my situation with those who have it worse than me. So many people, innocent children, living in war zones, living in fear… I may be paralyzed…, but I have a great wife to take care of me, air conditioning in the summer and heat in winter, a comfortable bed… On top of all that, I get to go to heaven when I die! I’m blessed, Wendy.

  53. First off, congratulations Bill on your granddaughter. May God richly bless her and keep His hand upon her all the days of her life. Condolences for the loss of your friend. He is definitely celebrating, though I am sure he will be missed. As far as life going on …..Bill you show amazing inner strength and commitment to do what you do. I know God helps you but you make a choice everyday, every minute of everyday. It is amazing. We have physical wholeness to look forward to one day Bill. It will be grand. May God continue to bless you and your family. Thank you for putting the word out there.

    • Thank you, Leslie. You’re so right about not giving in to self-pity being a choice. To be honest, it’s my greatest temptation, a temptation I feel several times a day. But, as I said, I’ve been down that dark road before and know that it gets even darker with every step, and the further you go the more difficult it becomes to turn back. I’ll never give in to that temptation, Leslie!

  54. Nicely done!


  55. Thank you for writing about this happy event in your life, juxtaposed with the passing of a saint. I often think of the ‘ordinaries’ and how we should be SO appreciative of them. I imagine that people lament, “if only we could get back to ‘normal'” .
    I pray for you daily. Is there something specific I could pray about, like strength to breathe? Picturing the hardship of NOT being able to turn yourself over in bed was an arresting thought.

    • Thank you so much for your comments and prayers, Maria. Many times I’ve thought that the only thing keeping me alive is the prayers of people like my friend Maria. Strength to breathe is the greatest need.

  56. Betsy Davis Butler

    Words to take to heart!! Your new granddaughter is just beautiful!! So glad you can enjoy her!!

  57. Praising Him with you, Bill, for the sweetness of His perpetual presence in our lives. Great post!

  58. Beautiful Bill, you continue to amaze me with your strength. We cannot wait to meet the newest member of the Sweeney family! She is beautiful. Had to laugh when the first thing that came to mind when reading your opening was Kevin Bacon reading that scripture in Footloose. 🙂

  59. Your words spoke to me this morning, as they always do. Thank you. May God bless your newest grandchild. And may she know her Grandpa’s Savior at an early age. Thanking God for life. Praying for you today. Connie

  60. jacquelinegwallace

    Bill, I so appreciate your words. They resonate with me and my own life journey, especially as we are both followers o Jesus. With your permission I’d like to repost this article on my blog, I have been saying similar things for the past several years, especially since I started blogging during breast cancer treatment. And I’ve elaborated on them in a book (now with the publisher) that grew out of that blog (Brokenness to Beauty: Transforming Your Brokenness into a Beautiful Life). Please let me know if I may repost this (and sometimes other?) articles of yours. God has been, is and will continue to bless you, brother. He is so good.

    • Thank you, Jacqueline. I always feel honored when someone re-blogs one of my posts – thank you.
      I wonder why your blog link doesn’t show up on your comments?

      • jacquelinegwallace

        Hmm. I don’t know why my blog link doesn’t show either. The note below this box says I am commenting using my account. To me technology holds more and more mysteries of the universe that I have no clue about! If you cut and paste the link into your browser it should take you to my blog. whenever I repost your blog post I will put your link in it to link back to your blog so if someone wants to visit, they can. Blessings to you and yours.

  61. This really blessed me. Thank you so much for sharing this.


  62. Congrats on the new little blessing!

  63. I’m so glad that I took the time to read this before heading out today. My nineteen year old daughter is a new reporter at our local newspaper. She was sent to cover a heartbreaking story of two young men that were killed in a car accident (we knew them). As we grieve, I’m seeing pictures of my friend’s new baby on Face Book.

    Yes, life goes on and I’m glad that my savior, Jesus knows every hair on my head and feels my pain. But most importantly, I will meet Him someday in heaven. I have a job to do while I’m here- spread the Good News! Bill that is exactly what you are doing through this blog. Thanks and God bless!

  64. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your faith and this truth with us.

    May God continue to bless you , your family, and your friend’s family.

    Love in and through Christ,

  65. Congratulations on the new baby. Life. Beautiful.

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