Monday, July 04, 2016

A Challenging Time of Life

I hardly know how to begin this post - intended to explain to my very patient, long-time (and possibly by now, former) readers why this blog has been so inactive in the past couple of years. From the time I started it back in 2005 or so, you can see how the number of posts has grown less and less over time. Not because I don't love to write or have nothing to say.

Pictured right are me, my two sisters, and my 93-year-old mother. It was taken June 13, 2016, at a regional hospital on my Mom's birthday. On May 30, she fell getting out of bed and broke her hip. This was after an extended period of declining health since 2011, and a February hospitalization due to dehydration. Before she began getting ill, my late stepfather began his final illness, passing in 2010. (Both moved in with me in 2001, and eventually I became their caregivers. Not an easy thing to do as a single bachelor with family far away, but God provided in His time.

Mom is now home as of Saturday, and that is a miracle from the Lord in and of itself. Many elderly people never make it back home after a hip break. The mortality rate is very high. But by God's grace, Mom survived and made it back home. We're not over the challenges yet - she must have a lengthy period of rehab and therapy with visiting nurses and in-home caregivers when I have to be at my office. At her age with severe arthritis and just being old and tired, it's a tough row to hoe. Getting up and walking is sheer agony, but she has to try. If that hip joint or her knees lock up, she'll be bedridden and taking care of her at home will be near impossible. But we're not there yet, and I'll do everything God grants me to do to keep her here where she's loved, happy and cared for.

The main purpose of this in-depth explanation is to illustrate a few things that have been roiling in my mind since these challenges began. First, the Lord's commandment to honor your father and mother never came with an expiration date. To me, Mom is not a burden but a joy. Yes, there are difficulties and frustrations. But she took care of me in my infancy and childhood, so now it's my chance to take care of her. For those with aging parents - count every moment and make it count. Every day is precious.

Second, family. The four of us have not been photographed together in eons. (My father died in 1980). We've aged a bit. We all have differing views on a host of subjects. We're rarely together anymore. But when we are - it's precious. The love for one another is unconditional. I am thankful to God for my family and loved ones. I'm a loner by nature and will always be, but I love my family. May God continue His work in their lives for His glory.

Third. The government—state AND federal—and their tender ministrations. They have really, thoroughly ripped the guts out of our health care system. The rules, regulations, bureaucracy, and I suspect more than a little corruption, are like a living, breathing Gordian knot with an attitude. I have learned a lot over the last year, and it's awful what they put people through. Especially the elderly. We need reform and like yesterday. The government needs to get out of our business, especially health care. I'll stop there. Too tired to rant.

Between a very heavy workload at my office and the health issues in the family, it leaves me little time for blogging and writing. I often find that when I get home from running all over the region or dealing with another health crisis, my mind and body are both so tired I just have to sit and vegetate mindlessly. There's a bit of a mental block. Experience has shown me that I can sit in my chair for a day and not be bothered at all, but let me pick up the computer to write, and that's when the phone calls start, Mom will need help, urgent emails needing immediate replies, text messages, visitors etc. all hit at once. My life at present is a little bit like the Kurt Vonnegut short story "Harrison Bergeron." You can't think too long before your "Handicapper General" earphones shriek in your ear. This has given me such a fear of being interrupted that I don't want to begin any task, especially writing. How I could write this much and get away with it amazes me.

I'm really not complaining, although there have been tears and frank talks with the Lord. He is allowing these things in our lives for a purpose, to teach us things, and to build up our endurance. That's all in Scripture if you look. Easy? Bwahahahaha! No, it's not. But God is faithful, even when it seems like He's nowhere to be found. He IS present and sovereign in our suffering. I am not experiencing anything that He did not experience during His earthly sojourn to be my Savior. I have a Creator God who understands and cares. We cling to that, and eagerly await the outcome of His divine, sovereign work in our lives. For His glory and our good.

So there it is. I do not know when my next post will be, or whether I will be able to resume this blog as it was originally conceived. One day at a time. Your ongoing prayers will be appreciated.