It’s been a while since I last let you all know how Mum is doing, so here is the latest update.
Christmas was different to say the least. My husband Jeff and I visited Mum on Christmas Eve, and I think our unique brand of humour cheered her up. I never realised ’til now how expressive Mum’s face can be. As Jan has said, Mum can say alot with just a lift of the eyebrows!
Dad paid Mum a visit on Christmas morning, Denise and I went there in the afternoon. Mum was offered a cup of tea at one point and she said yes. Unfortunately, she is not allowed hot drinks yet and the necessary withdrawal of the offer was very sad. At this point, tea may be what she wants but evidently it is not what she needs.
I have been thinking about the whole issue of why this stroke has happened to my Mum. She has been fit and active and possibly the most health conscious in my family for as long as I have known her. It really does not make sense. My sister and Dad are not best pleased with God (they are not believers) and, if I am honest, nor am I (I believe, though sometimes wonder why I bother). Sure, s**t happens, but I find myself wondering why it seems to happen more to some people than others. As a family we have not had it easy, as those who know me will be aware.
I let some of this doubt and anger out at Jeff and, after letting me rant and cry for a bit, he made the point that believing in, and even worshipping, God does not make us immune to disaster. It is one thing to know this, it is another to experience it. Non-believers have the dubious luxury of raving at someone they do not necessarily believe in, people like me don’t. I maintain that I trust God, but what does it do to your trust when someone you love is so terribly afflicted and you know that the Lord you serve could have prevented it? It is not beyond him, after all.
These are all deep, philosophical questions that great thinkers have not answered over many years. What chance then, do I have? A wise man once said to me that when there is alot that you do not know, focus on that which you do. So, what do I know?
1) God, despite the evidence, does love us and can be trusted.
2) My Mum will need my support in the times ahead of her, as will the rest of my family.
3) I have the resources at my disposal, through my faith, job and life experiences, to make a difference.
4) Some of those resources are reading this blog at the moment – I need you guys and am glad that you are there!
5) I have a family, both by birth and by marriage, that love and support me.
6) Asking the question ‘Why me/her/us?’ is futile and frustrating, a better one is ‘What now?’, meaning ‘What can I do at this moment to make things better?’
7) Sometimes the answer to the latter question in no 6) will be ‘Nothing’ and I will have to deal with that too. Hopefully, tho’, there will generally be something, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant.
8) What we get, as with the cup of tea situation above, is not always what we want. However, in light of the statement in no 1), we just have to trust that it is what we need.
In times ahead, Mum will not always want to try to speak or walk or whatever. However, very little is achieved in life without some effort and willingness to try. A nurse this morning was not letting Mum get away with just a little nod of the head, she encouraged her to say ‘Yes’. My Mum is a detetrmined character, as I have said before, and I am going to need to be very much her daughter. I need to be determined too. Not to count the cost of how much effort I need to put into being the person my family need me to be, but to see the value of the outcome.
The widow in the gospel who donated the two copper coins to the temple was commended much more than the rich man with his bags of money. It is not how much we give that matters, much of the time it is how much that it costs us. The word is ‘sacrifice’. It is easy to love from a distance when people are nice to you and can give something back. It is harder when it hurts you to give, when you are abraded and injured by the rough edges of those you love and have to face the fact that you also injure them. To forgive and be forgiven are both difficult to do in the real world, it is much more comfortable to keep your distance and suffer the illusion that this forgiveness is unnecessary. The fact is, no-one can really live like this, though some of us try.
There is much more to think about on the above subject, but I need to go and cook dinner for Dad and Denise. The prosaic intrudes on the profound once more…but, hey, that’s life!