Monday, August 16, 2010
1:47 p.m. Today's project is to have some birthday fun! I awoke to see my daughter Heidi off to work, receive a "Happy Birthday!" from Steve, put the coffee on, get the dishwasher emptied and have my morning devotions. I really appreciated the Gevalia "Special Anniversary Blend" coffee this morning, because I had been up late. Why does it seem like whenever I go out of town, I return to at least two hours of tasks to perform?Shows you the value of hours spent at home, doesn't it?
The kitchen towels were all in the laundry bin in the garage, so I started a load. Our vitamin and pill dispensers were empty, so I quickly had Steve quarter the aspirin with the handy pill cutter and lay out all of the bottles for me to fill up the sections. Heidi had left the kitchen clean and tidy, and had fed and brought in the dogs, so that was done. Coffee made and timer set, washload moved to the dryer, Facebook check-in, manually start the sprinkler system, load and start the dishwasher, take last dosage of anti-arthritis supplemnents, do complete facial care, and to wind down, finish my Amish novel before hitting the sheets around 11:45!
I received dozens of birthday wishes from friends online, and from my dad and the kids by phone, but one greeting, from my very long-time (NOT old) friend Susan Kroeker, really stuck with me, because she quoted Ecclesiastes 5:20, a verse I'd never paid any attention to before:
"He will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart." (NKJV)
"God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past." (NLT)
At 59, I have plenty "days of my life" to brood over, but I choose to look back only if necessary, address any issue with whomever it concerns, and focus on the joy of daily life with my Jesus. One joy I had today was to see Steve diligently bent over the I Samuel study, writing down verses.
This would not be remarkable for most Bible-reading Christians, because we can easily cover 5 or 6 study questions with the appropriate verse and add a personal application with each one if the Spirit so leads, in a reasonable amount of time, say 20 minutes. But Steve's Alzheimers causes him to have trouble finding the verse, and then he needs to follow each letter carefully with the point of a pencil. He has to look back and forth several times to register which numbered verse he needs, find it, look back, then he loses his place, and begins the process over and over again. Writing is physically difficult for him, and the numbers get confusing, too. For instance, this morning, he needed to look up Romans 13:14 : "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, fulfilling the lusts thereof," but mentioned that he was confused. I saw that he was looking at Romans 1:3, so of course that made no sense for the question as he sat re-reading it.
He went on to write the verse, his third for the day. This was a total joy for me, because Steve normally manages 1 verse per day, then the frustration builds up and I suggest a break to have his cereal, eggs and toast. (He has a banana to start off with each morning as he takes his medication). I wondered whether doing a written study alternating with his Horizon online devotional and chapters, was a good idea when he happened to read an intro to one of the lesssons while I was putting a copy on the porch of one of my study members, and asked if he could start! Who am I to hinder God's Holy Spirit?
God didn't promise Steve a supernaturally easy time of study, and it is very difficult for him, but what ease are any of us promised in this life? I'm not quite with Job's "Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble" (14:1) but we can all testify that troubles come our way! And so also come devastating diseases like Alzheimers.
On this lovely and heinously hot day, I am grateful to be alive, a loved wife and mother of a large family whose rambunctiousness has not settled down with their adult years. My mom is gone, but my dad is very active in our lives, with lots of advice and encouragement to offer, sought out by his grandchildren. Our loving family is being added onto yearly, with one wedding after another. The Lord has graciously given me a Bible teaching ministry and a record of public service. Friends from all walks of life cheer me on and the sentiment is mutual. Galatians 5:13b tells us, "...by love serve one another," and there is no other kind of satisfactory life for the believer.
Who's got time to mope over yesterday's blunders? Or project woe onto yourself for the future?
God keeps me busy with the joys of my heart!