I guess I did not anticipate the upheaval this trip would bring to my soul—There was grace for the going, grace for the doing and the being there (though not without some fear and trembling). There were ‘travelling mercies’–companions along the way to shorten the journey with conversation, and empty seats when silence was preferable, smooth and timely flights (well, we won’t count the first turbulent leg, a lesson in NOT starting the day with a hearty breakfast before a flight!) But anyway, the trip was all it needed to be. The many prayers offered upheld my comings and goings. It was the return to ‘normal’ that caught me off guard.
I arrived home on the verge of Thanksgiving weekend (celebrated early here) feeling flat, fatigued and disjointed in spirit. I was eager to be home, why then this discontent with everything?! Why did the house not feel like home? Why did the weather have to be so wet? Why is it getting dark so early—where did summer go? And how on earth am I to parent these kids into adulthood? And who’s this man I married anyway?! I was home but not at home. Since when am I so sensitive to change? How did I morph into this monster under such a little bit of pressure and transition. Yikes!
Suddenly I was faced with exchanging ‘worlds’ again–my mind caught up in the one, but needing to be present in the other. I did not anticipate the pre-occupation with Alzheimer’s and wondering if and when I’ll be next, the flashbacks to moments that still trigger an anxious unsettledness to rise, the continual nagging of unresolved situations that beg answers but defy solutions…the wondering how to be involved with this ongoing need, and still focus on my present world.
Snippets of journal reflect my waffling responses to this week of transition…”God of my Father, care for him today. Give courage and faith to Mom to see beyond the present with hope, and to make critical decisions before there is a crisis—work in each of them what is pleasing in Your eyes—preparing them for glory—preparing us the same.”
“’Be anxious for nothing’…could likely be I’m throwing my own strength (my area of weakness) at this situation rather than trusting that God will direct my thoughts and steps in His time…”
I looked again at Solomon’s request and God’s gift of a wise and discerning mind… heard again His promise to all who lack wisdom…
And I noted the “virtuous woman’s” response to winter’s coming: “She is not afraid of snow for her household—strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” (Prov.31:25) Ah, sweet confidence, the quiet confidence of wisdom. Willing to rest in God’s provision even when the winter storms have not yet revealed their full fury, trusting there will be sufficient clothing…
I read David’s testimony: “In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain’!…The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see…” (Ps.11:1,4)
And as I appeal to my Ageless Father, reminding myself He is a ROCK– always strong, never changing, never moving away, leaving, or fading in vigor…I find my soul being restored day by day. The process was begun in response to a poignant movie about aging love and loss (“Lovely,still”). It was just what I needed to pry open the floodgates held so bravely closed these past couple weeks and let out the grief to a listening ear. And day by day the restoration has come by returning to the unhurried rhythm of home-made days, by not retreating (as much as I’d like to!) from the regular round of fellowship—of prayer hike, of church, of Bible study. By rest and by exercise too—deep corpse-like naps and vigorous pedaling in fall-fresh air and sunshine—my soul is being restored.
And the season of my soul brightens. My house is home enough. The weather fine enough. Autumn has a bracing beauty of its own. And my family—they are mine and I am blessed in each of them. There’s grace enough for everything when the Lord is my Shepherd…
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me…
…you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Ps.23)
Thanks for your companionship on the journey—for His name’s sake.