Thursday, June 17, 2010
The right part
4:00 p.m. Today's project was to pick up a seal for the--how can I put this delicately--sewer valve on the RV. There's no misery like a sanitation system going out while you're camping, so Steve wants to have plenty of time before our Shaver Lake trip to get this slight leakage fixed. (The tank itself is empty, so no problem there, thankfully).
I wanted to go on a little outing with Steve after lunch, because I'd been gone to Bible study today for a few hours. Steve kept himself busy, mowing the backyard and ridding the Flypod of its gnat-filled pheromone adhesive card. [We have had the most obnoxious attack of gnats in our kitchen, centering round the avocado plants]. Now we can wait for the attack of flies that will come along in the summer time to set it on the counter again!
At this stage of his Alzheimer's, it isn't a matter of Steve being able to stay home alone safely, but of us spending time together, the reason for which I retired. Lately, I've noticed him having a lot more trouble with self-direction, and also moving much more slowly as he goes about his daily chores and self-care. It now takes him the better part of an hour to shower and dress in the morning, and he no longer even blowdries his hair. He used to complete this routine in about 15 minutes! To put things in perspective, I can give myself a complete Mary Kay facial and body treatment, put on full makeup, style my hair, accessorize with costume jewelry, and be totally presentable to go out in 30 minutes. There aren't really any surprises here, but the changes I knew were coming aren't any more welcome for it!
At our Bible study this morning, we were talking about trials, and God's providence and ultimate control over all things, reflecting on the worship song of Hannah. I Samuel 2: 5-7 says,
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, and the hungry have ceased to hunger. Even the barren has borne seven, and she who has many children has become feeble.
The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up.
The ladies, especially Theresa, emphasized trusting God no matter what happens. We are all mature believers, but sometimes we are tempted to ask, "Why me, Lord?!" But I shared with them that many times I end up following that question with another one: "Why not me?" For all the blessings I have been given by God, first and foremost my salvation, what unfairness could I possibly accuse the Lord of? Job said, so rightly, in Job 2:10b, "Shall we accept good from God, and not adversity?"
While repeating simple directions and helping in the incessant hunt for Steve's lost possessions is exacerbating, it's not enought to ruin my day or his, if handled tactfully and lovingly. Sometimes the Lord leads me to physically get up and help him find things; sometimes it seems to be more approriate to let him solve the problem. Either way, mercy needs to triumph over judgment between us in our marriage. I certainly cannot claim perfection! Just today, on our way to Giant RV, I drove right by their street, Santo Antonio, and ended up making a U-turn on the next right, Cooley Drive, and coming back. Steve had held up his thumb as we approached the correct street, in a brief gesture that I couldn't interpret, but he hadn't been able to formulate words fast enough to say, "Don't we turn here?" Asking later, "Why didn't you say something?" didn't even make sense in this new context--Steve can't respond quickly with words any more.
We do have to apply the right part of wisdom to relationships with our loved ones: a correction may be necessary, but how much more is forgiveness when asked for! Impatience may be justified, but kindness all the more, in all things, at all times.
Lord, help me find the right "part" today!