Thursday, June 24, 2010

"The patchwork pieces that make up our lives . . . "

Weekly Word - June 24, 2010

The patchwork pieces that make up our lives . . .
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face;
Now I know in part, but then I shall know fully - just as I also have been fully known.

(1 Corinthians 13: 12)

This past week-end was "Father's Day". I have to admit that through the years that day hasn't always been a good day. That is the truth for "Mother's Day" as well. You see, I didn't have a close relationship with either my mother or father. I left home at 18, determined to never go back! And even though my parents did their best, I didn't always forgive them for the hurts I had experienced throughout my life. That is, until I realized how fragile life really is . . .
My dad was never "daddy" to me. He was my father; and the best of times I had with him were when he would let me discuss politics or my views on things with him. As a teen-ager, I of course believed I knew all the answers to what would fix our world. Dad would listen, and then he would tell me his feelings. He treated me as an equal, and I really loved our debates! It's hard to explain moments when I felt my dad's love - but one day pops into my head. I was pregnant with my first child, and we had moved into a small house. Mom and dad came over to see the new house, just as we were trying to work on cleaning the living room. There was paneling along one wall, and my dad took the can of wood oil out of my hands. "You shouldn't be near this" he said. And then he started wiping down my walls for me. As I watched him, I realized that he might actually care about me . . .
But the truth is, through most of my adult years, I kept my parents at a distance. I raised my children, went through divorce, and never turned to my parents for anything. And then I met Ted. I introduced him to my parents, and something seemed to change. I was able to sit and just talk with my parents - and Ted helped so much! He talked and laughed and made things light. And from then on, we started to visit more often.
When my dad got cancer for the 2nd and then 3rd time - somehow I had grace to help. We cooked for my parents, and even did some repairs around their house. I spent time with my dad - making puzzles, working on his computer, or just talking. I was given a gift of time. Time to learn all about my dad, time to even learn to love him. And then my dad passed away . . .
It has been the same with my mom. As I grew up, my mom was the loud, manipulative woman who seemed to make me cry more than anything else. It was hard to find times when I felt loved by this woman. Although - maybe I just didn't look.

Then my mom got sick with a disease that actually took the person she was - away from us. Mom has Alzheimer’s. As dad fought his last battle with cancer, mom was fighting to remember who they both were. Within a short time of dad's dieing - mom started to forget him. It wasn't her fault, as the disease started to make swiss cheese of her brain. For about 6 months, my brother and I took care of mom. But slowly, mom became harder and harder to take care of - and soon we had to put her in a nursing home. She lives there now. But again, God has given me grace - and time! I visit with mom 2 to 3 times a week. During that time I have taken her shopping, out to eat, or just done her nails. We talk about things that mom can remember - her childhood and the friends she used to have. I have gotten to know my mom so much better now. As I go to leave, my mom hugs me tight and tells me how much she loves me. Two days ago, she told me she was so glad to have a daughter like me! My mom, the woman who I used to be afraid of - loves me! Even with her sickness, I know it is in there . . .
Yesterday I got some pictures on my phone from Jenny. She had gone to a museum with the kids she takes care of. One section of the museum was dedicated to quilts that were made by families of Alzheimer’s patients. As the pictures popped on to my phone, I found myself sitting there crying. The words hit me like bricks, and I realized that I wasn't the only one going through this awful battle.
In the past 2 years, I have lost my dad, and am losing my mom. But with God's amazing love - and the help of my husband and even my children - I have grown so much! I know now that I have been loved! I also know that in the worst of times, God can give us the best of gifts!
"Father's Day" came and went - as did "Mother's Day"! On those days, I hope I honored my parents, as well as my husband and son. They are amazing "Fathers"! And of course, Ted made me feel so special about being the mother of my two children. What a gift I have been given!!!
Each of us has our own "patchwork pieces" - the moments that we struggle with in our lives. In those moments - we aren't alone! Even the most difficult times are just a "piece" of what will make up our whole quilt of life! And that becomes the most beautiful gift God has ever given to each of us . . .

God bless and much love!

Debbie & Ted Ayers