Sunday, July 15, 2012

Big divot

2:45 p.m. Today's project was to create a nice, quiet activity for Steve for a Sunday afternoon. He stayed awake at church, especially helped by following along in the King James version of the Bible on my smart phone.  Because I enjoy the commentaries and the historical and background notes,  I use the New Living Translation during the sermon, which is taught out of the New King James version. Sounds just a little confusing, but it works! Until this morning, it never occurred to me that Steve might enjoy following the scripture references in the back lit, large font version of the Word on my Bible app, but he did look at it and smile. It just looks from a distance that I might be texting! But I do love the technology we have to read the Bible anywhere, on a lightweight, pocket-sized device! Jesus' prophecy in Matthew 24:14 says,

This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as  a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Until my generation--the television generation--this would have been impossible, unheard-of, and another few centuries out into the future. Our technology is just as surely enabling the spreading of the gospel as the Roman roads did in Jesus' day!

After church, we drove to Ralphs for some grocery shopping.  We arrived just as a lady was pulling out of the last handicapped space, so praise the Lord for that! Praise Him anyway, for a good morning of worship, fellowship and the word of God taught to us. We also have been enjoying cooler weather. Right now, Steve and I are sitting at our front patio table, which I lifted and dragged onto our new grassy area, in the shade of a Chinese elm. (The table is not large, but it is made out of cast iron and stone, and the chairs are cast iron, so my muscles got a workout today)! I had to turn his chair so that his back is to the street, and turn the sprinklers on  in the section of the lawn closest to the sidewalk, to keep him from from taking off down the driveway.

Yes, making a run for it is Steve's latest manifestation of end-stage dementia. His late dad Lorenz was found walking about a mile away in Old Towne Orange in his later stage, and was peacefully brought home by Steve's oldest sister. Steve's late brother Larry was immobilized by his disease, so was not physically agitated like Steve and their dad. Steve's urge to run seems to come at breakfast time while he is attended by an early morning caregiver seated next to him to assist, and I'm at the table too. Later in the day, he seems to get irritated if others are conversing, even if we try to include him, and tries to take off. Yet, when I need him to walk with me to another room, or keep close by at the market, he almost has to be pulled along! (Please pray for my painful arthritic hands, wrists, shoulders and back when you think of us).

While moving the patio set for our time in the shade, I made a pretty large divot in the new grass. At first I tried to say to myself that the empty spot had been there, and that the 6" x 8" section of soil with grass attached had been a couple of feet over all along. I went on talking with Steve, pointing out one of our lizards, reminding him to stay seated, and doing a little typing. But I kept reaching down and touching the delicate section of young grass and topsoil--and feeling guilty.

We love to live in the State of Denial on much more serious issues, don't we? Denying that we spoke a reckless or unkind word; denying our poor eating or lack of exercise habits; denying time wasted that could have been used for the Lord in prayer, reading the Bible out loud with a child or spouse, or calling to encourage a friend. Even if we generally live our lives to serve and honor the Lord, we cannot deny that there's room for improvement. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, acknowledging their strict commitment to tithing, but lambasting them for the ugliness inside their hearts, Luke 11:42:

Woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

Aren't you glad--overjoyed--that we have the Holy Spirit of Truth living inside us, to prick our consciences and tell us what our next step should be?

I knew that my next steps included putting the furniture back with help from Steve this time, and placing the patch of lawn back to where I tore it up when hastily moving the table. Another next step includes purchasing a bolt for the top of the door that my friends recommended from the experience of caring for Alzheimer parents. I also need to be refilled with the Holy Spirit for that calm and peaceful demeanor Steve needs no matter how messy his meals get or how he acts and reacts in a day.

I realize that things are going to vary, with the improvements Steve has experienced, along with the setbacks that naturally will happen with his dementia. I'll choose to forget his dropping his end of the laundry basket full of clean clothes, but treasure the nice way he rubbed my sore hand.

May I make the choices of Your heart, Jesus!

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