Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Earth-side Views

Sometimes things happen that are unexpected.
Things that turn our world upside down.
That make us wonder if life will ever be the same again.
Things that cause agony of soul and mind.
Things that are difficult to accept and make us cry “Why?”

But I believe every heart wrenching “Why?” needs to be answered with Moses’ words…”Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen 18:25)

Of course! God makes no mistakes. He is ever seeking the best for His children.
Bottom line…. No matter what…. We can trust Him in every situation, no matter how dark it looks from our earth-side view.

Sometimes we are given a glimpse of Him working through or in a very difficult life situation and we need to tuck these glimpses into our heart and let them be seeds that grow into a harvest of trust in our Father God !

Let me share one of my glimpses.

I have a friend. named*Sherrie.
She grew up with a mother who was distant and rather cold. I was always very uncomfortable in her company.
Sherrie tried all her life to please her mother but never felt she even came close.

Then her mother began to show signs of Alzheimer’s and was eventually positively diagnosed.
It was like a death blow at first as I am sure it is for all families who have to deal with the ‘mental’ loss of a loved one.
Sherrie struggled with the changes that had to be made and to learn what she could of this horrific disease. She had to try to deal with the unusual behaviours of her mother and even the practical aspects of simply ensuring her safety and finally having to find a home for her that would give compassionate care.

But then Sherrie noticed something happening.
Their relationship began to change.
One day Sherrie commented to me in amazement, “I finally have the mother that I have always wanted.”
When the disease robbed Sherrie’s mother of most of her memory, it seems she ‘forgot’ what had made her so hard and bitter all her life and she became the most gentle, caring soul.
She began to trust Sherrie and cling to her as the only stable thing in her life.
To the very end she always recognized Sherrie - even when she recognized no one else.

One weekend I travelled with Sherrie and her mother to a family event some hours drive away. I went with them to stay with Sherrie’s mother when she needed rest and Sherrie could not be there.
At one point I was walking Sherrie’s mother back to our hotel room, and she was struggling to grasp where she was and why.
Even five minutes she would ask, “And who are you?” I would reply that I was Sherrie’s friend and Sherrie had asked me to take care of her. “Oh, good, “was her repeated and relieved reply, “If Sherrie knows, then it is good.”
She also kept asking where we were going… she didn’t remember the hotel room she had left a short time ago.
Finally, we got back and I was feeling such compassion for her mental struggle to make sense of what was going on. I opened the door to our room and said, “There we are back... Now you can rest…you don’t have to think anymore.”
Sherrie’s mother had always had a keen sense of humour and even Alzheimer’s could not rob her of it. She replied dryly, “Good, because I have nothing left to think with!”

On the drive back home we stopped to do a little window shopping in a quaint little town. Sherrie and her mom were very fast walkers and I was usually a few feet behind, struggling to keep up.
We had to cross a street at one point and half way across Sherrie’s mother suddenly stopped and asked, her voice full of alarm, “Where is Julie?”
This woman who could not remember my name…who asked every five minutes why I was there …. In a flash moment of compassion expressed a concern for my safely, remembering even my name. It was gone again in the next minute, but I remember the ‘gift’ she gave me in that moment.
To show compassion or express concern was totally uncharacteristic of her throughout her life. But in her last years Alzheimer’s freed a side of her that no one ever guessed was there.

Sherrie called me when her mother was dying and we stood together at her bedside when the Lord called her home. It was a beautiful and treasured experience.

4 comments:

Lovella said...

Julie this is a beautiful post of hope and deliverance. What a wonderful experience for you to see this relationship from this view.
I often wonder about relationships and how we are affected and perhpas this is in part the answer.

Vicki said...

I agree with Lovella...this is a beautiful post.

Another blogger recently hosted an All Saint's Day series writing about Alzheimer's. These posts were good and very touching. If you're interested, they are here.

(I always type in those hyperlinks with my fingers crossed...I'm never sure if I'm doing it right or not!)

Sara said...

Julie, this is a beautiful story. It offers so much hope. And I love your wonderful word picture about tucking these moments away in our hearts as seeds to grow a harvest of trust in God, which you then illustrated so well with the story of your own experience.

Carolanne said...

Hey Julie,
Just dropping in and am again blessed by reading the thoughts you have shared here.
Thank you!