Friday, November 19, 2010

Where we need to be living

5:05 p.m. Today's project was to take a friend to her surgeon for a check-up. Her appointment was at 9:00 in Riverside, so I needed to pick her up in Moreno Valley by 8 in order to get back in the bad commute hour traffic. We arrived in plenty of time, she got a good report, and I was able to pop into the Starbucks at Arlington and Brockton to say hi to my barista friend Pati, as well as pick up some groceries at Vons while she was with the doctor.

In order for me to have devotions, get Steve situated with his Bible study and fix our breakfast, I had to get up at 5:30. I woke Steve up before 6, because his Alzheimers has extended a formerly 15-minute shower, shave and dress routine to an hour. From downstairs, rather than direct observation, I imagine that a lot of backtracking, changes of clothes and shoes, lost items and indecision characterize that hour. I don't interfere; I just work the extra time into our schedule. No harm done--that's an uninterrupted hour for the Lord and me to fellowship together!

The Bible verse I posted this morning on Facebook was totally apt, Psalm 108:1-2, because it was still dark outside at the time, about 5:45!

O God, my heart is steadfast;

I will sing and give praise, even

with my glory.

Awake, lute and harp!

I will awaken the dawn.

Much as my flesh wants to rebel, my mind and heart find something wonderful about being in the Lord's presence in the early morning hours. Few distractions, for one thing. And the feeling that the whole day is ahead, ripe with plans and anticipation of God's work and will to be accomplished in the succeeding hours.

When I went outside this morning, however, the cold, damp air hit hard! While I had plenty to do with my friend in the morning, and a customer appointment in the afternoon, what would Steve be doing? He normally spends 75% of his day outdoors, landscaping, gardening, taking care of the dogs. As I went on with my tasks, I kind of expected him to just bring the dumpsters back from the curb to the side of the house, stay inside and maybe surf the Net, not much more.

I was pleasantly surprised to find, after two hours, that he had been cleaning the kitchen floor and vacuuming, and everything looked nice! For him to take this kind of initiative, especially after a week without his Aricept, was excellent, and much appreciated. By lunchtime, however, Steve was pretty much at loose ends, so I reminded him of his book, Amish Grace, so he could be occupied, not standing around with hands in pockets awaiting instructions from me.

Then we were literally "saved by the bell," because his oldest sibling, Sharon, called with a very sad report on their brother Larry, 58, who is now totally bedridden in a care facility with Alzheimer's. Larry is about to go to the stage in his deterioration of having to eat pureed food, another devastating development for his wife Michaele and for all of us. Imagine Sharon's heartache at losing her little brother to this thief of a disease, and her youngest sibling Steve, just a number of years away from a similar fate unless the Lord intervenes.

Steve then carried on a very cheerful conversation with his sister, and was finishing his sentences pretty well from what I could hear from the kitchen. Of course, she didn't bring up Larry at all. His mind is stimulated in a positive way by the conversational efforts of others, and her call was very uplifting and timely.

I find Steve and Sharon's conversation to have just the effect the Bible says it would: "How pleasant it is for brethren--and "sistren"--to live together in unity!" (paraphrase of Psalm 133:1)

I took off again to sell some lipsticks at my hair salon and make a bank deposit, and returned to find that Steve was out walking the dogs. Good--they were all probably getting stir-crazy. But it did make me grateful that we live in a climate where the sun is shining most days of the year and Steve can be outside to his heart's content. God knows where each of us is supposed to live, and with whom, for our best and highest good. He painstakingly and lovingly plans out His children's lives on our way through the valleys, hills and straight-aways of this life on our way to heaven, of that I am confident.

As Job said, 23:10, 14a:

He knows the way that I take;

when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.


He performs what is appointed for me.

Thank you, Lord, because I could never plan or design a better life for myself than what You have ordained!

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