I’m looking to the Lord God for so much today. Big things. Little things. I’m so glad He’s my rock forever. Hallelujah, Jesus reigns forever.
I enjoyed this article on the TenderLovingEldercare.com blog about slowing down for our elderly parents. I notice this especially when I talk to mom. Mom is hard of hearing, especially on the phone. I talk too fast. She doesn’t understand, but she doesn’t say anything. I catch on when she answers the wrong question. Then I have to repeat it all, slower. Sometimes v-e-r-y s—l—o—w—l–y…
It’s the same when I’m there. I’m usually there for two to four days, with travel days on either end. While I’m there, we schedule several doctors’ appointments. I deal with any of her finances or other paperwork. Meanwhile, I’m trying to stay on top of whatever I can from here. I feel like I’m running the whole time. I often feel frantic as I rush to manage everything, and seldom take time to just sit and visit. Mom and I are both exhausted by the end of the day, so rather than cooking we tend to bring food in.
I forget that Mom is almost 94. That my time with her is limited. We’ve never had a great relationship so it’s easy to fall into the “do my duty” routine rather than trying to get to know someone I’ve never really known and have little hope of knowing. In my hopelessness, I move too fast. Talk too fast. Expect too much.
When my brother comes, he sits and talks with her. Rubs her feet. Cooks her meals. Listens. I really need to take a different attitude. Yep, I do.
So Mom felt better after my brother called her back and told her that the police would be patrolling her house. About a half hour later, there was a knock on the door. Mom asked who it was. She didn’t hear an answer, but assumed it was the police. So she opened the door, just a crack.
Me: “You did what?”
Mom: “Just a little. And I had my foot against the door so I could slam it if I needed to.”
She had thought of everything… My mom is 5’3″ and just over 100 pounds. She also has peripheral neuropathy and is unstable on her feet. I reminded her of the size and strength of a person the size of her delinquent nephew.
Me: “Do you really think you could keep him out with your little foot? He could push that door open with one hand and knock you over! What were you thinking?
Mom: “I know… I know…”
But did she know? How could I get her to think more clearly? To think in terms of safety?
Maybe I couldn’t.
Obviously I couldn’t. The same kinds of things still happen. I’m glad she’s in a somewhat safer place.
What would you do?
This incident happened a couple of years, just before Mom broke her hip and ended up in assisted living. But the lesson is so important I think it bears repeating.
Mom has a hearing aid and doesn’t hear well on the phone.
She is nice person.
She was 90 at the time and naive.
So when she received the following call, guess what happened… (Identifying info changed for obvious reasons).
Caller: “Hi, how a you?”
Caller: “I haven’t seen you in a while. How have you been?
Caller: “Want some company?”
Mom: “Umm, I guess so.”
Caller: “It’s been awhile. Remind me where you live.”
Mom: “XYZ Mobile Home Park, over on Grove Street.”
Caller: “Right. I remember now. And what number?”
Mom: “Space 34.”
Caller: “That’s right. Well, I’ll head over in a few minutes.”
Seriously! After all the times I’ve warned her about phone scams, her pride and naive niceness took over once again. She later said she felt she should have recognized the voice and didn’t want to embarrass herself by letting on that she didn’t.
Fortunately, my brother called right after she hung up and realized what she had done. After chastising her, he called the local police and explained the situation. They promised to send an office by and keep an eye on her place that night.
People, please remind your elderly loved ones to make sure they know who is on the phone before giving out ANY information.
Tomorrow, the conclusion of this story…
This is the song that has been on my heart all week. Bless the Lord, oh my soul. (That’s a command). Worship His Holy Name with me today. He is indeed worthy of all praise.
We’ve looked at the myths of happiness and fairy godmother. The third myth that will keep us from healing is the myth of entitlement, which says, “You owe me!” Sometimes we think God owes us. Sometimes we think others owe us. But one way or the other, we escape personal responsibility when we buy into the myth of entitlement. The myth is entitlement is closely related to the victim spirit or mentality, which claims, “It isn’t my fault!” Either way, the result is escaping responsibility and expecting God or others to fix us or fix the problem.
God wants us to be responsible. To grow up into him (Eph. 4:15). That doesn’t negate faith, but it does require us to become mature. To make right choices. To be obedient.
The antidote to the myth of entitlement is good old-fashioned hard work and responsibility. It’s the willingness to get our hands dirty. To do the right thing. N.T. Wright in After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters says, “Virtue…is what happens when someone has made a thousand small choices, requiring effort and concentration, to do something which is good and right, but which doesn’t ‘come naturally’—and then, on the thousand and first time, when it really matters, they find that they do what’s required ‘automatically.’” It becomes an “acquired naturalness.”
Battling the myth of entitlement isn’t easy, but then, few worthwhile things are. As long as we believe that God or the world owes us, we’ll remain stuck in our sickness, whether physical or emotional.
Yesterday we looked at Myth #1: God wants me to be happy. Myth #2 is that “God is my fairy godmother.” We believe this myth when we demand that God heal us without being willing to change our behavior and attitude to conform to His will. Yes,God wants us healed, but more that that, he wants us to grow up into him (Eph. 4:13).
When we look for a miracle, we’re following signs and wonders. We aren’t to follow signs; they are to follow us! (Mark 16:17-18). Yes, God wants to heal us, but like a good parent, He loves us too much to leave us in a behavior or mindset that doesn’t glorify him and will get us right back in the condition we were in.
God is ultimately the healer, but He doesn’t wave a magic wand. He will generally operate within natural laws and those are generally enough for healing. A miracle is a suspension of natural laws; it is the exception but we want it to be the rule. God will always operate within his laws, but His laws generally allow for our bodies and our minds to heal themselves – when we obey His principles.It is God’s will for us to be healed, but He will respect our choices. And all too often, we make bad choices and expect good results.
Healing is ultimately a spiritual endeavor. There are things that happen in the spirit realm that we don’t see and therefore tend to discount. For example, God’s words have substance; so do ours. God’s words create substance; so do ours. The power of life and death is in the tongue (Prov. 18:21). So what happens when we use our tongues to curse ourselves?
“I’m brain dead!”
“I can’t even think straight.”
“I’m no good.”
We create reality by our words and our thoughts. We need to speak faith and affirmation – not in a new agey way, but in a “Faith in the God of the Universe” way. Then we won’t need a fairy godmother.
There are many reasons people don’t heal, but one of biggest is belief in “Christian myths.” The first of these is the myth that “God wants me to be happy!” It may come as a surprise to you, but God doesn’t really care if you’re happy or not.
Woo! Blasphemy, you say? Nope, it’s true. He really doesn’t care if you’re happy. So what does he want? God wants us to be filled with joy (John 15:11, John 16:24) and to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29). When we seek him first, he fills us with joy.
Seeking happiness, on the other hand, causes people to be stupid. To “do” stupid. It causes them to enter into unhealthy relationships, to make unwise choices, to sin. I have a friend who was unhappy in her marriage and sought solace in an Internet relationship, claiming that after all, it was God’s will for her to be happy. I knew she had hit stupid when she declared they were going to get married. Just as soon they both got divorces. And they were going to meet soon. Really? I’ve known people to quit good jobs because they weren’t happy. To refuse to honor their parents through caregiving because it didn’t make them happy. To leave good churches because they weren’t happy.
Maturing Christians don’t seek happiness. They persevere in obedience, even in the tough times. And the result – sooner or later – is joy. The joy of becoming conformed to the image of Jesus, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross (Heb. 12:2).
Sometimes I thought my parents lived in fantasy land. My stepdad had had several falls and eventually ended up in a nursing home and then board and care. He didn’t like it and didn’t want to be there. Mom didn’t like it and didn’t want him to be there. She was convinced she could bring him home and take care of him, but repeatedly, when she would try to bring him home for an afternoon, he’d fall and she would go down with him. Sometimes they would have to call a friend to help them get up.
I became the “mean one.” The one who had to say no. The one who said, “No, he can’t come home. For everyone’s good.” Didn’t make me popular, and I’m not sure they ever realized I was right. The same thing happened when Mom broke her hip and wasn’t able to return home. She didn’t like it, but in the end she knew I was right. Sort of…
Carolyn Rosenblatt writes in Forbes.com about Living In Denial About Aging Parents. She stresses the importance of family being aware of the needs of the aging parents and taking charge. Doing something about it. Because the alternative isn’t pretty.
As Christians, we are commanded to honor our parents. One way we honor them is to stay alert to their needs. And to do the right things, no matter how they may wish we wouldn’t.
Pay close attention to the lyrics, even as the music soothes your soul. Have a blessed Sabbath.