I admit that I enjoy reading but not what my wife or daughter enjoy usually. So I’m not the quickest to look at a Reader’s Digest or Guide Post. We have old copies of both of these table magazines scattered through out all three of our bathrooms. My Anne had bugged me to read an article about someone that is well known in Contemporary Christian Music Circles. I was initially hesitant to glance at this short over view but I did. I was taken back and in tears after I finished reading the unfolding of this well-known singer’s story of her mom and dad.
I try not to let my mom’s death or my dad’s dementia get to me but I’m not superman or Jesus so I cry often. I also get frustrated with the way life unfolds at times. Yes, I’m thankful for God’s faithfulness in my life over the years but why does this have to be me and not someone else? Sound selfish – YES! I do know that my Father’s grace and mercy will be there every step of the way and I have no choice but to follow, lean on him and learn from him daily!
I think my choice comes back to whether I’m truly connected to God or using Him to get what I want in life? This may sound strange but I’ve been reading a great book recommended by a friend that talks about life with God, life over God and Life under God. The challenge is that it is too easy to try to manipulate God to do it your way and not really have much interest in actually having a friendship with God. Yes, I can preach about the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and not be plugged into him as my shepherd whose voice I hear so I can be guided to pastures that are green and streams that are flowing and alive.
I just got finished talking with a great friend about computer stuff and our parent’s life issues. I could tell that his mother in-law’s journey in life was starting to impact him and his amazing wife. I didn’t have answers to the questions of why but had simple advice about being proactive and willing to be an advocate and not be in the re-active mode. I know that looking back on my dad’s situation I could have done many things different. Yet, today I know that I need to get his glasses fixed and get him high calorie drinks. This is how I love my dad today.
I was raised by a mom that taught from an early age to say thank you, yes sir and no sir. I can’t remember my mom or dad ever telling about the cup being half full versus half empty paradigm but they lived it. We faced some obstacles with my dad being gone with his various Vietnam combat sessions. As I watched my mom talk about her cancer as if it wasn’t a big deal I realized it was going to be a life changing deal for everyone. I know that she was thankful for her life, her family and her God’s love for her.
The sad fact for my family and me was watching grandma slowly be eaten away by cancer over a decade. It was easy for both my parents to assume that a good blood test meant the cancer was gone. The reality was that the cancer was there ravaging her body and she continued to lose weight and become less able to function with out considerable help. It took me months to persuade my dad to get help. He was hesitant to talk about Hospice or Home Healthcare. Yet, in the end, he listened and we connected with Hospice. I know that my mom was a fighter and had to come to a point where she would be willing to let go and trust God with my dad and the rest of us.
I know that it is very difficult to be honest about hurting and frustrations in life. I would rather have a positive response to someone’s question about how I’m doing. If I do spill my guts it is messy, takes time and might make the other person uncomfortable. I am blessed to have many friends who I can be honest about the crap. Again, I have been convicted to see that I have to be honest with God in a first person way to see my life become healthier. My prayer is that I would desire to be WITH my God, my wife and my family in a real way. No more games.