Friday, July 07, 2006

All Work And No Play...

I signed us up to go on a whitewater rafting trip with some people from church. Steve works so much and is so stressed out it seemed like a good idea to get away from here for a bit. He doesn't seem too interested, in fact, it sounds like he's grumpy about the whole thing. Sometimes he acts like I'm silly (not in a good way) about stuff I want to do. If I talk about making a certain dish while our friends are visiting for several days, he barks about how he just can't think about that. He's too busy thinking about work and money and whether we'll be able to afford to even have groceries while they are here.

See, I've got a secret he hasn't tapped into. You know my Abba, my daddy, owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He can always sell one off if I'm in need.

So I have decided not to take offense that he isn't as excited about this trip as I am. In truth, I'm a bit scared about it. Not the rafting part, but the part where my shoulders haven't been working properly and my back has been giving me fits. I'm afraid that I won't be able to use the oar properly when the time comes. Still, I look forward to these kind of challenges, and to getting Steve away from the business for a while. Leaving allows you to come back refreshed and with a different perspective. Our minds need the break.

Yahoo! To the rapids!

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.


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.


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 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.


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.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Three Days

Grandma always said that three days was long enough for anyone to visit. You've said everything there is to say, you've seen everybody, now it's time to go before everyone get's tired of each other. 14 days with Mom and Dad hasn't made us tire of each other, but it does make one tired of the disruption of schedule, of different foods, of sleeping on air mattresses (although that is surprisingly comfortable), of being away from family, away from my dogs, my church, my garden. It hasn't been long enough that Walmart seems like a good outing...yet.

It has been long enough that I will once again really long for water once I'm gone, rivers, the ocean, lakes. I have to finish my pond and waterfall. There is something so restful and healing and necessary about water. Pounding, fushing, falling, rippling, running water. Water. It's not just for drinking anymore. Or something like that.

I would not have had to come here to long for my mom and my dad. Heck, my granddad died in February of 1982 and I still miss him. A picture of him will still put a smile on my face and a tear in my eye. But we buck up and get on with the business of living. Some days the pain, grief and troubles of life threaten to overwhelm, but we know that there is no new trouble under the sun, and we know that life continues. Somehow we go on after the worst of trouble. We know that those who have gone before us have always done so, how can we do less?

For some reason, the listings of generations in the Bible has been of comfort and strength for me lately. In Genesis it lists the men in the direct line of Abraham and Isaac. This list goes on and on. Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, etc., etc. Somehow all of those living, having children and dying reinforces to me that this is the cycle of life since the fall. Nothing that is happening here is unique (except that it is happening to ME, of course). It is not out of the experience of mankind. That gives me comfort that no matter how overwhelming the grief, and how great the pain, it can be endured, and it will wane. Life will continue.

I still hope that Mom and Dad decide to move near family while it is still a possibility. Mom needs it, and honestly, I think Dad would appreciate it, even though he doesn't want to need anyone. can WANT to be around family even if you don't NEED it, right?

As with every time I fly, I can't sleep tonight, even though I lost sleep last night and don't have to be at the airport 'til 2 pm. Grrr. going to bed now.