Sunday, October 9, 2011
Step through the door!
4:45 p.m. Today's project was to go to the first Home Fellowship for 2011-12. Steve began having serious confusion about 4:30, not a good thing with a 5 p.m. departure time! This actually was odd, because he returned from walking the dogs as usual, had some Ensure as he does daily, and then seemed very confused by the normal procedures to get ready--freshening up, shaving that "five o'clock shadow." He even said as I urged him to head upstairs to our bathroom, "Then I'm not going!' I replied, "It's too late to call in a helper, so yes, we are going. Now please get ready." I had given him a quesadilla to ward off low blood sugar issues before the 5:30 gathering. So I asked for prayer for him from my Facebook friends, and took care of feeding the dogs for him while he brushed his teeth.
Things were a little dicey as we traveled along, because we didn't go directly to church, but made a side trip to the post office on Chicago Ave to mail some spa party invitation postcards. As we turned right on University Avenue, I kept up some chatter about the Altura branch we used to go to, now shuttered, the foreign exchange student program we had hoped to gain a renter from, and still might, and how much easier it is to enter the 60 freeway east on a Sunday afternoon instead of a school day, when the UCR students dribble across the crosswalk one or two at a time, so you wait forever to make your right turn! He seemed to be interested in the traffic on the 60, when I pointed out our usual onramp at Central Ave. We then concentrated on singing along with KSGN's excellent playlist of Mercy Me and Michael W. Smith worship songs. Even if he forgets many of the words, Steve just loves to worship!
"Worship" actually is the entire experience of prayer--verbal, written, or silent praise, confession or petition; reading God's word or listening to biblical teaching, either corporately or alone. But in our American Christian culture, "worship" and "singing" are synonymous. Since so many of the psalms have been made into hymns or praise songs over the last 2,000 years, it fits for us. I just love church and small group worship! There's nothing like being inspired to just sing with all your heart to Jesus! Believers are told to worship, in I Chronicles 16:28-29, where King David's Song of Thanksgiving was set to music:
Give to the LORD, O families of
Give to the LORD glory and
Give to the LORD the glory due
Bring an offering, and come
Oh, worship the LORD in the
beauty of holiness!
And Psalm 29:2 repeats the words,
Give to the Lord the glory
due his name.
God knows that singing to Him lifts our spirits and scientists know it lowers our blood pressure, tension and anxiety. So the two of us arrived at church in a good frame of mind for a brief time of worship and sharing by our pastor before receiving our maps and heading to our home fellowships. We found the house in good time, but as we parked, confusion set in for Steve, as he stood outside his open passenger door of the Jeep, just staring across the street at others who were arriving. I kept calling to Steve to shut his door, through the open back window on his side, but he was like a person in a trance! He finally snapped to attention, and we made our way across the street.
Steve was calm and cheerful, relaxing on the recliner end of the long sectional. As promised, several people who know us and Steve's condition were there, so we were immediately at ease. Once we get a chance to visit a little, I'll let the newer members to our church in on Steve's condition. When it came time to introduce ourselves, I just went ahead and introduced us, while Steve smiled. After the introductory session, Steve got up with me to go to the kitchen, but I selected the croissant sandwiches for us. However, he carried the paper plate and I brought our cups of water. He did well, not spilling or disrupting my conversation with my good friend Kay. Everyone who knows us made a special effort to greet Steve, especially the men.
The calm was not to last for long. I unlocked the Jeep and got in, but Steve didn't. After I put on my seat belt and placed my tote bag behind me, I noticed Steve's hand jerking back and forth, kind of clawed, searching for something--the door handle! It was dark, though I had the lights on inside the Jeep. The problem? All of the things we do instinctively, and by rote, like finding a door handle in the dark, are gone now for Steve. He finally did find it, but I was still in shock.
Back at home, during a FOX News report on US Marine outposts in Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Oliver North stated, "There are no roads out here in Taliban territory. Only one highway exists."
It's the same with being an Alzheimer's care giver: there are no roads and certainly no road maps. But I also agree with the other part of the colonel's remark, in that there is only one main highway for all human beings, and that is the one Jesus talked about in Matthew 7:13-14:
Enter in at the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Our road is narrow and difficult, but worth every kind of trouble, because that's the road Steve and I have chosen to travel!