Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I feel the need to apologize to all you millions of people out there in cyber space that actually care about the details of my life. I just get so busy that I can not find time to actually "relax" enough to come here and somehow put my day on paper! And if I don't relax enough to do that, then it somehow comes off as more of a rant, or a vent. Neither of those options are what I truly want to use this for.

In my bible study this past week, I was reading in Matthew, the 24th and 25th chapters. I was reading over the parables that Jesus used to teach important things to his people. The one that the study zeroed in on was about the ten virgins and their ten lamps. They all filled their lamps and went out to look and wait for the bridegroom. It apparently was a longer wait than some of them anticipated. Their "lights" went out before he came for them. When they realized he was coming, they had to run find some oil for their lamps so that they could somehow get their "light" back. The others were prepared, they had not allowed their lamp to go out, they had not run out of oil.....they were prepared for the long haul. No matter how much time it took, no matter how hard it was to be ready, they were faithful. And when the bridegroom came, there they were, ready and prepared, lights shinning brightly for the bridegroom. After they went in with the bridegroom, he closed the door behind them. When the others returned, having tried the "I will get ready at the last minute, and then I will be able to go" theology, they were not allowed to enter. Those that continued to live a life of faith, those that continued to let their light shine, those that continued to watch for His return, were the ones that actually were allowed to enter. It just breaks my heart to see so many, even those in my own family, continue to make decisions that are so opposite to Christ's teachings. Everyone will say they are Christians, but continue to live in sin. Open sin, daily, consciously choosing to live in sin that the bible teaches against. They live a life that God condemns! And what's worse, I don't think they even have any guilt at all. The Bible says, "it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that, the judgement." Do they not understand to willfully sin, willfully live daily in sin, that they will be judged some day? How can they live with that? How can they do what they do, every day, knowing that in the blink of an eye, they will be standing before the Lord Jesus, and they will be judged for every mindless thought, every willful disobedience, every choice, and every motive they made against God. This is why self-control is so very very important. When you are standing in front of God himself, you will not be able to use any lame excuses or rationalization of why you did what you did. You will be judged. We will all be judged for not only our actions, but our motives for those actions. So even if you are doing something that looks good to all those around you, if your reason for doing it is inherently bad, then you won't get "credit" for doing it! Understand? It's kind of like my brother-in-law said a few years back, "You don't get credit for being submissive if you are kicking and screaming while you are being submissive." You have to have joy in the journey, no matter what journey you are on. It's the ability to say "whatever, Lord, whatever." I remember telling my daddy that, as he was fighting Leukemia. He was tired of the fight so to speak. He kept telling me that if this was the way he was going to live, if this was his life from now on, then he didn't want to do it anymore. It was more about quality than quantity. We had many long discussions about picking and choosing our ministry. Many discussions about how he had taught me to walk the path that was laid before me. He had taught me that we were not allowed to quit, just because the path was uphill or hard. Living the life the Lord had chosen for us was all that mattered. For some that was a life in prison (Paul), for others it was a life as a slave. But both lives mattered to God, and they were doing what God asked them to do. In one of those discussions, I compared his 25+ years as pastor of a large congregation, in a nice church, living in a comfortable home, and driving a Cadillac to his ministry opportunity now in St. Louis University Hospital. Maybe now he was to minister to these folks up here. I smile as I remember those heart to heart talks with my daddy. I miss him so very much. I miss those challenging discussions about interpretation of scripture. I still remember him giving me a 4 page "sermon" complete with 3 points and a closing shortly after I told him I was going to have a home birth, without a doctor present! I remember us discussing the peace that passes all understanding regarding that decision. I also remember him telling me that I added ten years to his life every time I had a home birth. I told him he added ten years to my life every time he went to Florida in the middle of hurricane season!! Oh how I miss those playful jabs at each other. This current path I am walking is not one that I am walking by choice. As a matter of fact, I don't like it at all. I hate Alzheimer's Disease with every bone in my body. When someone has a disease such as cancer, there is always some degree of compassion for what people are going through, some understanding of what people are going through. With Alzheimer's, it is considered a mental disease, and not much is known about it. Nobody knows what causes it, nor is there a cure for it. And it is so much more than "wandering and burning things". This disease takes away the ability to think....logically. It is slow to progress, but progress it does. I am watching my momma decline daily. I can place her in front of the mirror and tell her that we are getting ready to go to bible study, so she needs to put on her makeup. I will stand there until she reaches for her makeup bag, and pulls out her makeup. At that point, I will sometimes walk away to go do something else to get ready to go. When I return, she has not put on her makeup. I can fix her a plate of dinner and she will eat it. I will then take the plate and put it in the sink. Later, as we are cleaning up and putting food away, she will inform us that she has not eaten yet, and would like to have a plate before all the food is put away. This is what it is like to live with someone who has no short term memory. She has now been living with us for over a year. And yet, every single night she will ask if she brought a toothbrush or a gown to sleep in. Every single night she will wonder if she has clothes to wear tomorrow, or if she will have to rinse these out in the sink and wear them again tomorrow. And yet, occasionally, she will say she has been here long enough and needs to pack up and go back to her house. When she is upset about something, she will ask me where her car is, and if it is at her house. She will ask that I take her to her house so she can check on things, and when I take her there, she won't even go inside the house. She will get out of the car, set down in her swing, and stay there until we get ready to go. At that point, I will remind her it is an hour drive and she might need to go potty before we leave. Usually at that point, she will go inside and go potty before coming back outside and getting in the car and coming back here with me. If the ceiling fan is on and the air conditioning is set on 76, she will insist that the girls put on socks and shoes instead of flip flops because "winter's coming on". Today, I actually bumped up the A.C. a bit higher. Momma asked me if I was hot or cold, what I was doing to the thermostat. I told her I was bumping it up so the AC unit would not kick on as much. Later, my daughter was laying in the floor saying it was soooo hot in here. Momma quickly told her she should go outside for awhile, and cool off so she could appreciate this heat inside here! I know that is a circulation problem, so I usually keep a blanket close for momma. It is easier to warm her up than make everyone else sweat. I wish it was as simple as telling the same story over and over. I wish it was as simple as repeating herself, and asking the same question over and over. It is being negative all the time, about everybody. When you have no short term memory, you cannot follow directions. She wants to be able to help do this or that, but I am running out of jobs I can actually give her that she can actually do. She is not able to do circle the word books anymore. When I give her the towels to fold, that will take her over an hour. I have to give her 6 forks, or six plates because she cannot remember the answer when she asks "how many do we need?". I will tell her, I will answer the question she asks, but it doesn't matter. She will not remember and will just set the table with as many as she wants. That's ok with me. She feels she is being helpful and more importantly, she feels useful. It is extremely important that she still feels like she has worth, and is able to do things. But I admit, that I live each day with a fear that this will be the day that I will have to stand up against my momma, and tell her that she cannot go back home and live, and that no, she cannot drive her car anymore. Her independence is gone, she just doesn't know it, and for that I am grateful. That is my job, to not let her know, not let her be aware of how much she has lost, and how much she can no longer do. That is a full time job. The absolute highlight of her day is when they bring Quincy to me to babysit. I love having Quincy, my grand-daughter. But momma thinks we should not tell her no for any reason. It's ok if she wants to finger paint in Grandma's eggs, then walk away and finger paint on my couch! It's ok if she wants that jelly toast, "she's hungry", and of course, it's ok if she takes that jelly toast over to my coffee table or couch and smear it across the table. We can just wipe it up, no harm done. So by the time Quincy leaves that night, I am one tired grandma. But the good thing is that she gets Grandma Adams up and out of her chair! I will ignore the toy on the floor, or halfway under the couch. My momma will get up out of her chair and pick up after Quincy all day long as well. She is afraid Quincy will step on a toy and fall over them. I can tell it wears momma out, but she is happy, smiling, giggling like a little girl most of the time. She gets mad if anyone else plays ball with Quincy instead of her, and she will tell you about it!! But there are enough moments that momma shows up, my sweet momma shows up, that keeps me going. I am grateful for those moments. Thank you Lord for those moments.