Earlier, Steve and the grandsons had washed up our two dogs after I came home from Bible study and reminded them. Seems Steve hadn't noticed that all of the supplies--towels, shampoo, dish soap, leashes to keep Jada and Bailey still, a bucket and rags--were set at the sliding glass patio door for easy access. I had put everything there, talked with Steve and the boys about the job yesterday and today just before I left. But upon my return, when I asked Xavier why they hadn't done the task, he said, "Grandpa said we didn't have the stuff." And in his Alzheimers-affected mind, Steve didn't have the stuff to wash them with! Even though he can physically see, it''s the processing of what he sees where things get tangled up, or in case of the dog-washing supplies, items become invisible. Let me testify that this phase of his condition will take some getting used to. Before this week, if I set everything out that he needed, or pointed him to the appropriate supplies, he'd get right to work with no further delay, whether I would be home or not. He lost a lot of things, but never had trouble interpreting what was in front of him...
I sometimes think, with the changes that happen for Steve on an increasingly regular basis, of Isaiah 43:18-19:
Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
While I understand that believers are to press forward, and I certainly do, in the Lord's strength and with His leading, and that we are not to pine for the "good old days," I know that these verses call for looking forward to a great day of deliverance, not the worst possible outcome for my husband! So I take these verses to mean for the nation of Israel in particular, but for us as well, that there will be a new heaven and a new earth where we will be rewarded with eternal residence. "So why does this passage of promise keep coming to mind?" I ask the Lord.
As far as this earthly life goes, "new things" are definitely a mixed bag! My children's maturity as adults, establishing their marriages and homes, starting families, and stepping up in ministry are wonderful reasons to get up each day with excitement, as are the publication of my book and future ministry opportunities coming up. Even the year-long cycle of the garden is invigorating as new tasks present themselves. My grandchildren will increase in accomplishment and numbers, too. So many reasons to look forward to God's "new thing!"
But the largest situation looming in our lives is Steve's deterioration, pure and simple. I arranged for a nurse from our long term care company to meet with us next week for a pro forma home assessment. That will clear the way for hiring a trained companion with Alzheimers and eldercare certification from an agency I interviewed a few months ago. Will Steve need someone here when I have to go out? How soon will he be unsafe to stay alone?
Already unsteady on his feet at times, will he be able to walk Heidi down the aisle next June?
Most devastating of all, how soon--or late--will Steve need to live in residential care? These are not good things to look forward to, not uplifting developments, are they? Like the grubs and spiders Steve and our grandson found in the bottom of the compost bin, some real ugly times are coming. No sense denying it. But God knows all of this, and He will make a way, not only for practical considerations and professional care, but for the peace that a clear spousal conscience provides, joy in every day that he does well, and a strengthening of our love through all of it!
Hear the New Living Translation of verse 19b:
I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
Yes, God WILL make a way! And most amazing of all, He will give me the grace, joy and strength to welcome each "new thing" He brings into my life!