Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Finishing the race

1:58 p.m. Today's project was to comtinue gathering facts from old journal entries for my book about our experience with Alzheimer's. Steve was picked up by the Riverside Special Trans bus, and I was then able to welcome our agency caregiver whose job is to clean house for us once a week. (Our long term care insurance covers the expense of housecleaning, hallelujah)! Until she worked her way around the downstairs, I hadn't realized how dusty things had become, and how in need of a thorough cleaning our house was!

Kind of reminds me of the shape I've gotten into, between caring for Steve, ministry, and working my business! Retirement was really fun and adventurous the first two years, but as Steve has taken a drastic decline, the help in cleaning that he gave me, as well as independently caring for the garden and lawns, has very much diminished. Something has to give, so I'm settling for "neat and tidy" rather than actually "clean."

I also am not getting as much sleep as I should, with Steve's night time disturbances and the length of time it takes to get him settled in bed with his C-pap mask. I think of what the woman says of herself in Song of Solomon 1:6b:

They made me the keeper of the
But my own vineyard I have not kept.

We older folks--over 60 like me--do need to care for all aspects of our lives, especially the spiritual aspects. The late Alan Redpath warned many years ago when we saw him speak at Riverside's Harvest Christian Fellowship that young people think senior citizens don't have a temptation problem. But the temptation to fall away from the Lord gets more and more intense! The devil wants to steal souls away even more urgently as death approaches.

So the elderly population, now burgeoning, needs specially urgent ministry, the saved to be strengthened and encouraged as their bodies weaken and fail, to maintain their joy in the Lord, and their anticipation of their homegoing. And unbelievers need to get saved--time is literally short. (Although any of us could face eternity today, of course).

My dad has been following Billy Graham's ministry for almost 30 years, since he first became born again. He now has bladder cancer, having had a tumor removed a few years ago. But after a scare with blood clots that had him hospitalized overnight this summer on his 84th birthday, he has decided not to have any more surgery because he is enjoying his independence and good quality of life. I heartily concur. Each person has to make a prayerful decision about treatment, and do diligent research and listen to numerous physicians before any more "cutting" takes place. I myself refused chemotherapy after all of my blood tests came back clear of any cancer markers after my tiny lumpectomy surgery and radiation in 2003-04.

In the last two weeks, Daddy has been quite insistent that I order him a copy of Billy Graham's Nearing Home. "And get a copy for yourself, too, Dana!" Guess that was an order! He'll be stopping by on Saturday to get his copy that arrived today. And I just ordered my own.

I probably know as well as anyone how soon a body can break down; keeping the Lord uppermost in mind from a bed of pain, or within a mind that no longer keeps orderly thoughts of any kind, is a huge challenge. Compromise and excuse-making can seep in quietly as struggles one never would have imagined become daily fare. 

"At my age..."
"I should know..."
"I'm not harming anyone else; it's just me here..."
"I'm just a crochety old lady (or man)..."
"Nobody knows the trouble I've seen..."

For the saint of God, let the excuses evaporate! There is only one standard Jesus requires, and sent His Holy Spirit to make it possible, through the words of I Peter 1:15-16,

As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written,

"Be holy, for I am holy."

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