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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hope

Greetings all
          Wow, it's been a while since I blogged.  It's not that there's nothing to report, it's just that it's all so open ended.  No nice neat conclusions-----at least not yet.
          Stu is still at Laurel Hill Nursing Facility.  There have been a few breakthroughs in his therapy----Tex got him standing up a few days ago (with lots of assistance), and has also been using electrical stimulation for his left hand and arm----but nothing major, really.
            And last time I wrote, we were feeling good about the idea of buying this property from our longtime landlord.  Unfortunately, after that writing I was contacted by the landlady and told that they had been advised not to sell after all (both their attorney and their CPA advised against it because of the current poor market)   They have no objection to us making improvements to accomodate Stu, at our own expense.  The only reason this seems like an option is that moving would be even more expensive in the long run, and I would no longer have the bakery.   But if we got a clear signal that there was a sensible place to move, I would not object.  As always, only God knows how this will all play out----in the meantime, the daily exercise of keeping the faith keeps me on my toes!   (See what I mean about no nice neat conclusions?!)

Which brings me to TODAY:  Today, we went to the Josephine County Fair, the first time Stu has been out of the facility since June!  Laurel Hill offers this option to any resident who wants to go, arranges the transportation, wrestles with wheelchairs and transport schedules----God bless them!    Let me tell you, there were skeptics when it was first suggested that Stu might go-----after all, he complains about sitting up in his wheelchair after only an hour----how would he withstand the at least four hours for this adventure?   Somehow, though, he and I both kept thinking we should follow through with it.   So, this morning at 9:15 I was there with a lunch packed and a baseball hat for Stu.   As I walked in the door I was greeted with a lineup of residents in their wheelchairs extending down the main corridor.  Why does that make me smile?  The smell of sunscreen was thick in the air, and there were some flamboyant hats on unexpected heads-----who knew that Lori even owned something that big and floppy?   And Shirley actually looked cute in her sweet little straw hat.
                We had to wait a while due to a mixup in communications about the bus schedule, but by 10:15 they were loading the wheelchairs one by one into the vehicle.  Stu was the last one on, riding in the back of the bus.  He was very sober----I thought about how long it's been since he's seen the streets of Grants Pass, and let the pang hurt my heart for just a minute.  I knew this trip would have it's share of moments like this, and the best way to deal with it is to acknowledge it briefly and let it pass. 
it's a hosta leaf----I just like it.

Once we got through the gates, it was agreed that we would all go our own way and meet up at lunchtime, and Stu and I made our way to the Flower Building.  Nice way to start-----quiet, restful, cool, and sometimes spectacular.  We worked our way through several buildings, marveling at giant cabbages, impressive sunflowers, not so impressive zucchini (come on, those baseball bats are the ones we all don't want to see in the garden, let alone on a paper plate at the fair!) 
           We passed the arena with the dogs dressed in strange costumes (?), and wound up in the cow barn.  It was quiet and peaceful in there, and there was a bench where I could sit for a while.  It was time to hear what was going on in Stu's heart.  "I'm in a wheelchair!"  he admitted, almost surprised.   I knew something had been bothering him.  At Laurel Hill, everyone's in a wheelchair.  Out here, it's an adjustment.  "Yes, you are" I agreed with him.  Ever since we started reading the book of Job, I've been struck with how easy it is to miss the person as you struggle to explain his condition.  Better to just walk alongside and share the moment, I think.  That morning I had heard something on the radio about "leaning into grief", and I thought now what a good way that is to put it.  Let it do its work.  I prayed for Stu as we sat together, munching on the chicken salad and cornbread I had brought.  The cows in the nearby stalls were large and passive, just....... there.  They seemed like fitting companions.   
              When we got back to Laurel Hill, both of us tired but content, I could see how happy Stu's aide was that he had actually done it.  "When they first told me he was going, I almost had a stroke!" she quipped.  "How was it, Stu?"  "It was nice" he smiled. "I had a good time".  And you know, he did.  Sometimes, facing your fears is the best medicine of all.
              As I got in the car to go home, the song on the radio brought tears to my eyes----"Dancing in the Minefield" by Andrew Peterson.  It was on the last verse:
"We bear the light of the Son of Man
So there's nothing left to fear.
So I'll walk with you in the shadow lands
Till the shadows disappear.
Cause He promised not to leave us
And His promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos, Baby, I can dance with you.
So, let's go dancing in the minefield
let's go sailing in the storm
let's go dancing in the minefields
And kicking down the door.
Let's go dancing in the minefields
and sailing in the storm
This is harder than we dreamed but I believe
That's what the promise is for.........
       That's what the promise is for."


Still dancing with Stu, even after a stroke------whatever comes, we are blessed beyond measure.


Until next time


Sue
           

Friday, August 5, 2011

Light in the Darkness

I knew I would wake up again tonight.   It happens every night now, this falling asleep for a  short time and then waking up.  In my natural self I have been dreading and resisting it, fretting that it was unhealthy and that I would somehow lose perspective.   But this weekend’s meltdown taught me something.  (I went over the line (briefly) between healthy compassion for Stu and co-dependence, enough to feel the heat.  It refreshed my memory about the huge difference between pressure from God and pressure from hell.)  And you know what?  This pressure that I feel each night now is something to yield to.  As I say “yes”, whole passages of scripture leap into full color, even brighter in the face of the darkness and emptiness of my circumstances.  I ache so deeply.  And there is an answering comfort to the ache, a Person who meets me.  He promises no remedy, at least nothing particular and earthy.   No resolution of the dilemma that shouts its facts at me daily.  But He does answer------he seems to be urging me to consider an answer that is intangible.  There is an assurance that accepting what He offers will actually satisfy on a much deeper level than a mere fixing of the physical reality.  He is offering healing.    I believe, Lord.  Help Thou my unbelief. 
         I step outside to the midnight stillness.  My property is a refuge, the stars like a living, breathing canopy assuring me of His presence and providence.  I am profoundly safe with Him, even in this darkness.  As I walk through the days,  I am profoundly alone with Him.  Again, I sense the pressing to accept the aloneness as a gift, to trust that He is steering this experience masterfully,  that there is a difference between willful isolation and this setting apart.  Isolation would be me trying to preserve myself-----this is something different, a yielding to His design.   My heart is filled with wonder and lightness-----I am the woman at the well, and he is giving me Living Water.   Whether I sleep tonight or not, I am refreshed.