Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Ramblings and Random Thoughts of...Me

That may have described my initial intentions with this blog, which is to say I had no real intentions, but as I have continued to write, I find myself coming back more and more to dwell on the verse listed below my blog title, and so I have written a new description. This journey has fits and starts and wrong turns, steep slopes and rock slides, grand vistas and fog banks. Sometimes those are all present in one morning.

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I have affected a style of starting sentences with "And", "But" along with other conjunctions. I use too many elipses, too many dashes and too many parenthetical remarks that probably aren't parenthetical. And I probably will not stop that.

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I think I have offended my parents with my concern and some of my remarks. Not intentionally, of course, but despite my best efforts to be respectful and to honor them, I may have been too blunt, too outspoken, perhaps just wrong. I admit it. I believe I am right, but I am willing to concede that people are wrong all the time, and I am very likely wrong quite often. Sometimes I think Dad is doing much better than even he thinks, but other times I'm not certain he is even as well as Mom thinks. Clearly they aren't ready for anything like assisted living. Clearly. Ohmigosh, I would be so offended if I were in their shoes. No one wants to need help at all, but clearly, according to our beliefs, according to Scripture, we all need help. Note: I wrote this in one of my placate-the-parents moods. Upon further reflection and a dose of honesty, assisted living may be the best. Not for Mom, who clearly doesn't need it, but for Dad, since really, he is already in assisted living. Mom is assisting his living. Once you need help such as Mom provides, it doesn't seem right to pretend you don't need it. It certainly doesn't seem right once you need that assistance to insist that only one person provide it, whether you are the receiver OR the provider. We aren't meant to carry these times alone.

The problem is that the Bible gives direction that we are to honor our parents and that it is shameful not to care for them. There is a fine line between the day one needs no help and the day one needs some help. It isn't clearly defined, but in my opinion, a person who intends to honor that commitment and that God-given responsibility needs to keep a sharp eye out. Not to do so would be neglecting your responsibilities. Heck, it's not an onerous burden, it's what you do because you love them, and you honor them for caring for you when you were a little snot.

I mean we would all like to think that we die while hiking a tall mountain, overlooking a grand view, or safely sleeping in our own bed with no pain, but many of us will not do that. I think Dad would like that...to spend his final moments looking out over Mysterious Lake, crawling into a warm sleeping bag and waking up in Heaven. I know I would like to spend my final moments there. But we are neither of us likely to do that again unless there are helicopters, pack horses, oxygen tanks, air mattresses and young folks to haul the firewood and cook the meals. Barring that, we are likely to face some amount of impairment this side of heaven. I would just like to feel that I did my best to make my parent's lives a little easier, a bit more pleasant and gave them some happy times. Aging is frightening, at least it is for me. I'm concerned that the arthritis that is already limiting some of my activities will be a monster as I get older. I wonder how bad it will be when I'm 60 or 70. It's not dying that frightens me. Pain frightens me. Depending on others frightens me. God is utterly reliable, I'm pretty sure no human is.

I hope my parents will understand the love that is behind my bumbling. And I hope they will forgive me, for surely they must have wondered at times if there were more they could or should do for their parents.

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Matthew 26: 36-44. One of the garden of Gethemane passages in the gospels, this is where Jesus, knowing his death and the torment surrounding it was imminent, prayed to have it taken from him "nevertheless, not my will..." and yielded to the Father's will. This is probably my favorite passage in all of Scripture, together with Luke's retelling of the same events. The events in the garden are so incredible to me in their depiction of the Jesus who loved me enough that he endured the unendurable. He gave up not just his life, but took on the horrors of sin, as the only human who could ever understand what true horror that is. Knowing he would have to be severed from contact, from the deepest of all communion, with the Father, even though the horror and the struggle took him to his knees three times--not mild prayers, but agonized, heart-wrenched, blood, sweat and tears struggling, yet each time he submitted to the will of the Father, even though he pleaded three times. Oh that Jesus I understand. Or at least that Jesus understands me when I struggle. How wonderful it is to me to know that he truly understands! I used to feel guilty struggling to accept God's will, but Jesus struggled too! "For even Christ pleased not himself..." Rom. 15:3, and if HE did not pursuit his own pleasure, his own desires, shouldn't I be ready to deny what I want if it isn't in alignment with what God wants? "With his stripes we are healed" Isaiah 53:5. He did not please himself, and it cost him. It cost him torture. I would not endure one moment of pain I didn't have to endure, but though he could have called three thousand angels, or commanded the ground to open up and swallow his tormentors, he did not. He knew the price and he paid it. Willingly, but not without struggle. Those stripes healed me. His obedience paid for my disobedience. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. He knew what he was in for. He knew the torture to come. He didn't run toward it, but in spite of not wanting it, he pressed forward, certain that he was doing the Father's will. He did that for you. He did that for me. It makes me weep.

2 comments:

Beth said...

Hey, glad to see your new "look" both the name MHC and now the revised "mission statement"

Thanks for sharing all you're going through with your folks. You've been incredibly open as always about all your struggles with all of it. This would be a great series of blogs to read for anyone going through the same thing.

Pat said...

What a terrific daughter. God has surely been gracious to us.