Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Not Part Two

I'll get around to blogging about the second half of my retreat eventually, but not tonight.
I know. You're sitting on the edge of your seats.


My dad (update):

I've seen him everyday since I got back and know what? The visits don't get any easier.
They suck. Or rather, this situation sucks.
The getting-old-and-being-a-complete-invalid part of life is a total bummer, man.
Yes, he did stand for 30 seconds on Thursday morning, but hasn't been able to, since. He's mixing up our names and forgetting who his grandkids are. He doesn't remember if Goldie Hawn drowns or not in Overboard (seriously, he's seen that movie twice a day for the past 4 years) and he wonders where we're going when we say, "bye, - see you tomorrow"...

He tells his nurses 'I don't belong here - I should be with my wife'...
When he and mom are together, sitting at the end of the hall, overlooking the traffic on 96th Ave, he turns to her and says, "Let's go." When she asks him "Where to?", he looks confused and doesn't know how to answer.
At night? He apparently doesn't sleep for more than an hour at a time. (Sleeps for an hour, then is awake for 2 - 3 hours) His longest sleep so far has been from 4 - 7 am once during the weekend.

Oh goodness.

This is so hard.

The visits are draining and time consuming and filled with sadness and the emotion lingers for hours afterwards. And on days when I don't visit (like today), I think about him all day long and pray that he's not in pain, and that he is at peace.

And I keep entrusting him to God's care.
His life is in God's hands and I know that this is God's perfect plan for dad's life. And I choose to believe that God is protecting dad's mind from being overwhelmed with hopelessness and despair ... this season of his life is more about us than him. Our response. Our actions. Our integrity. Our priorities. Our obedience.

What would happen if our aging population didn't require us to care for them? What type of people would we be if we were too busy or too self-absorbed to love on those who can't even feed themselves?

These past few months have been difficult. The selfish-me wants my 'old' life back. The one that didn't require me to spend 4 hours a day, four times a week, driving and hanging out in uncomfortable situations, wondering if that ragged breath was his last one, or trying to calm an inconsolable, sobbing dad, or listening to/smelling four men empty their bowels in their beds simultaneously. Or, more recently, sitting beside a man with expressionless eyes, stare uninterested at the TV, my face, or the mashedfood in front of  him.

THIS is not only God's plan for dad's life, but my life too.

The aging process was God's idea.
He allows us to get old and feeble for His purposes.

Maybe to make us long for heaven?
Maybe to deal with any misplaced pride we may have about our looks, virility, invincibility, longevity genes, and good eating habits?
Maybe to cause us to lean on Him?
Maybe to stir up some compassion, selflessness, and caring in our families?
Maybe it's His way of having family members mature; as the older generation becomes incapacitated, the younger one has to step up to the plate? (Because some of us princess-daughters have been very happy to have our dads look after us and our leaky-roof, flat-tire, broken-heart, lost-job lives.)

Dear God,

Please continue to use these (last?) days of dad's life for Your purposes. May you be glorified in them. Give us patience as we learn how his new living environment works, compassion when we don't have a drop left, strength to keep on, courage to ask for help when we're overwhelmed.

Thank you for the friends who are standing by us as we follow You. Friends who listen to us whine, pray for us when we don't, share their stories, and who bring laughter and light into our lives.

Please surround dad with your angels tonight and every night. If it's important that he sleep - then I pray that you would calm his spirit and his mind and allow him to rest peacefully. God I pray that You would give divine wisdom to the care aids and nurses on the 3rd floor and tell them exactly how best to care for him and his unique needs.

Thank you for choosing him to be my dad.


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Fun (but frustrating, if you're not getting any) sermon series at Northview on Sex. Seriously. Listen to this most recent one. (Your wife is not just a cistern ( a hole that collects fluids), she is like a well, that has water, deep inside. You may have to work to get it out, but once you do, it bubbles forth like a spring. It flows like a river. MAN - her sexual vitality is like a FOUNTAIN. It could soak the whole neighbourhood. But it's all yours. You could drown in it. GO. Have sex with your wife. It's like you've got Disneyland RIGHT IN YOUR BACKYARD.) or something like that. Maybe my hand was a little shake-y when I was taking notes. :)

2. Poignant moments in the Brian Doerksen concert on Friday night. I kinda came undone when Brian's dad sang a duet with him - "It is Well With My Soul"... There is a warm richness when Mr. Doerksen's mature voice sings alongside his son's. So full of meaning. Such a great example of a father's impact on a son's life.

And the other sweet spot was the song: TODAY. My new anthem for the next few months:

Today, I choose to follow You
Today, I choose to give my 'yes' to You
Today, I choose to hear Your voice and live
Today, I choose to follow You.

3. A lovely Mother's Day. Each son, (and unexpectedly, that sweet girlfriend too) wrote nice words in a card for me. (I need words. They are life-giving.) And they showed up for dinner, (a surprise, thanks Jule, for arranging it) and stayed to visit. I am proud of the men they are becoming. I love watching them be brothers. I enjoy their company. I am so glad God chose me to be their mom.

4. Today felt like my first real day of being unemployed.
I ended it by doing a photo shoot for 7 sibs who were together for the first time in years. I love taking pics of happy people:


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