Thursday, March 31, 2016

Weekly Word for 3/31/16

Behold, I tell you a mystery; . . . In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, . . . We shall be changed.
(1 Corinthians 15: 51 & 52)

It was Thursday, the day that I work on paying the bills.  I had turned on my computer as I was getting breakfast ready for Ted and myself.  When the computer sits idle, it starts to show pictures across the screen.  Sometimes I find myself just sitting watching the pictures go by, some from many years ago.  So as I put out the bowls and silverware, I looked up to see the pictures my computer was showing.  Just as I did, I saw my mom standing between Jen and Dan, and Ted and I.  It was from Christmas a few years ago.  Looking at the picture, I couldn’t help but wish that mom still looked like that!  Things had changed, and mom’s condition was getting much worse.  In my mind I wondered when exactly had things changed so drastically.  Or was it a slow change that I  somehow missed?  On the screen, the picture had quickly changed to something else.  But the thoughts - they just kept rolling around in my head . . .

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, . . . 

There she was, jumping on her bed - her long dark hair flying behind her.  Her dark eyes were full of joy, as I grabbed and hugged my little girl.  She was around 3 or 4 years old, and I loved her with all my being.  I settled her down in her bed, putting each teddy bear in it’s proper place.  Kneeling next to the bed, I helped her say her prayers.  Then I kissed her eyes - calling them her ears, and her nose was of course her mouth!  Her giggles just filled my heart with such joy!  It was part of our bedtime routine.  Hugging her tight, I wished her sweet dreams.  As I closed the door, all I could think about was how thankful I was for the gift of those moments.  

But at some point, those moments ended.  How did that happen?  Would I have changed that one night, that last night, if I had only known??

In a moment - life just seems to change.  I can still feel her, see her, hear her - my little Jenny in my arms.  I still wonder when that moment  - - - turned into a memory . . .

There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven - 
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1)

In a moment - I have to admit, memories can still bring back the emotions of days gone by.  I can still see my son Mike sitting next to me in the hospital right after I gave birth to Jenny.  With his blonde hair and brown eyes, he just filled my heart with such love.  He was so sweet, as he looked down at the little baby I was holding.  “Can I hold her?” my little 4 year old asked.  “OK” I told him.  And very carefully I put her in his lap, my hand under his arm to hold her head.  He was so gentle with her, and I just knew he would love his little sister so much!

There is an appointed time for everything.  

In a moment -  with a sound, a smell, or touch - memories can fill our being.  The memories of our children laughing and growing, can be triggered by a small voice calling “mommy”.  Falling in love can be recalled with a simple touch or hug.  Tears are close by, as we remember those we have loved - - - and lost.

Some memories - are of one special moment in time.  These moments change your heart forever.  Those are the moments that can make you stop and know - that God is real.   Those are the memories of my babies births, my wedding to Ted, and fireworks over Niagara Falls at Christmas.  These are the  times that made me cry with tears of joy.  

Sometimes, you wish you could catch those special moments, and keep them for just a little longer.  They are little miracles - that God has given to each of us . . .

And there is a time for every event under heaven - 
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 4)

Most of my friends know that my mom is deteriorating pretty fast.  The disease called Alzheimer’s has eaten away at her brain.  She has lost so much of “her”.   She has forgotten how to eat, and most days she doesn’t say very much.  She also sleeps a lot.  Visiting has been difficult for both my brothers and myself.  The sadness that surrounds those visits seems to follow me home.   There will be an end to this, in the not too distant future.  But the thought of that,  also breaks my heart.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

My brother Wayne lives the furthest away from mom.  He has a tough time getting away from work, home, and family to make the long drive to where mom is.  Because of this, my brother Rob and I do most of the visits.  So when Wayne called to say he was going to make the drive up to see my mom that week-end, I was really glad for him and mom.  I knew that she wouldn’t really remember, but he would.  Wayne was meeting Rob at the nursing home.   Together they would visit mom.  Mom did best with only a few visitors.  So I decided I would stay home and let them visit with mom.  I thought this was the right idea - - -  until I saw the picture on Facebook that evening.  It was a picture of my two brothers on each side of mom.  They were both smiling and looked great.  My mom looked like she usually does, a bit confused.  As I looked at the picture, I found myself wishing I had made the trip north to be there as well!   I was actually jealous!  Both my brothers were together, and I was always alone when I visited with mom!  

The next day I found myself complaining to Ted about the picture.  He just listened and let me go on and on.  Then we sat down to pray before breakfast.  Ted asked the Lord to be in charge of my visit that morning with mom, and also to help me with my jealousy.  As I looked up at Ted, tears were rolling down my eyes.  “I’m sorry” I told him.  He just hugged me,  and we got ready to leave - that early Monday morning.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance.

As I drove north that morning, I found myself talking to God.  “Please Lord, forgive me”  I asked Him.  “Please take this jealousy from me” I continued.  I told God about my heartache and pain, and about so many things that were happening in my life.  I told Him how hard it was to visit with mom the way she was now.  But I also thanked Him for the good memories that I hung on to, as this road became harder.   When I got to the nursing home, I felt a bit better.  As I walked through the door,  I wondered how I would find mom that morning . . .

Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father . . . 
(James 1:17)

A moment in time . . . That visit turned out to be a gift, a miracle of time!  My mom was walking down the hall when I came through the unit door.  “Hi mom!” I said as she pushed her walker forward.  She looked up and a huge smile crossed her face.  “Hi!” she said as she let go of her walker to put her arms out toward me.  I gave her a big hug and we walked back toward the Activities Room.  We sat down in the far corner by the windows.  Mom was holding my hand and smiling.  She looked down at her shirt and then looked up saying: “I have blue on.”   I smiled and told her she did.  She had on a pretty blue shirt with hints of purple in it.  The purple matched her pants.  “You look so pretty!” I told her.  “What is your favorite color?” I asked.  “Red!” she said.  And we both laughed.  “You had a visit yesterday from Robbie and Wayne” I started to say to her.  But she added before I could say another word - “And Debbie!”  looking straight at me and smiling!  She still had my hand in hers and she put her head on my shoulder.  It took a bit to keep from crying at that moment.   It had been a very long time since my mother had remembered my name.

During the rest of the visit my mom talked and laughed about little things.  She told me her teddy was brown, and she liked red.  So I went and found a red little stuffed lady bug.  She loved it!  She showed it to the ladies around her saying: “Look! Look how pretty it is!”   And I just watched, my heart feeling so happy!  At one point, my mom pointed toward the Activities Director and said:  “I would like that ball.”  “You would?”  “Why?”  I asked her.  “Just for the heck of it”  she told me.  I laughed so hard when she said that.  She was making sense, and it was wonderful.  Laurie (the activities director) brought the ball over to mom and they played catch with it for quite a while.  It was a big, soft, blue ball.  And mom laughed as she caught it and threw it back to Laurie.

After a while, I knew I needed to go downstairs to meet up with the head nurse.  I actually didn’t want to leave, but I knew it was time to go.  Mom was still alert and watching what was going on in the room.  So I kissed her and gave her a big hug, telling her I needed to leave.  She told me OK, and I turned and walked out of the room.  As I started down the hall, I realized mom was following me.  So I turned back and I walked her into her room.  She looked at her bed (it had a Red Sox blanket on it that my daughter-in-law Kelly had made for mom) and mom’s baby doll was in the corner.  “Oh, it is so beautiful!” mom said.  “Can I sleep on it?” she asked.   I told her she could and she sat down on the bed.  As she lay her head on the pillow, she pulled the baby doll close to her chest.  She started to close her eyes and I kissed her forehead, telling her I loved her.  Her eyes were starting to close, but she seemed to be struggling to say something.  “Remember . . .” she seemed to be saying.  I went around the bed and kissed her again, telling her “I love you mom!”   “Really?” she asked.   “Yes really, I love you very, very much!” I told her.  “I love you too”  she said, as she drifted off to sleep.

Incline Thine ear, O Lord, and answer me;
For I am afflicted and needy.
Be gracious to me, O Lord. 
For to Thee I cry . . . 
For Thou, Lord, art good and ready to forgive,
And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon Thee.
(Psalm 86: 1 - 5)

A moment in time . . . Throughout my life there have been moments, memories that will stay with me forever!  Some of those moments fill my heart with joy!  Other moments can still bring tears.  So many of those moments  were amazing gifts from God.  One of those moments,  was the memory of my mom a few weeks ago.  Her words, her smile and laughter - I will never forget them.  

I had driven north that day with a heavy heart, praying and asking God to forgive me.  I kept asking Him to help me let go.  I was still wishing that I had gone the day before.  But as I left mom, I realized that if I had, I would have missed it!  I would have missed the gift - the gift of my mom in that moment in time!

For Thou, Lord, art good and ready to forgive,
And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon Thee.

As you walk this earth, there will always be times of trouble and hardship.  But in the middle of those times, that is when you find grace and strength.  It is then - that we see God!

God loves us, each and every one of us.  And He wants to give us so many gifts in our lives - moments of joy and love.  All you need to do, is ask Him!

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, 
“Plans for welfare and not for calamity - to give you a future and a hope.”
(Jeremiah 29: 11)

It is my hope that you will ask Him to walk with you - in every moment of your days here on earth.

In His Love,

Debbie & Ted Ayers