Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sharing the Story (the chapter on aging parents)

We are told to share out stories.

In this world of social media and the penchant for sharing the minutia of our lives with as many people as possible, it still feels like a self-centered idea. After all, my life is not all that "share-worthy." On an ordinary day, my moments would likely bore you to tears. And yet, they are moments scripted by a God who declares He wrote the story of my life before I breathed my first breath (Psalm 139:16). He weaves the moments together according to His plan and promises they are good.

We are meant, I believe, to walk together through this life -you taking my hand, me reaching out to grasp hold of someone else's. One way to do that is through our stories. Perhaps there is something in those ordinary, and sometimes not so ordinary, days that will encourage a struggling heart - even if it's just to say, "Me too."

My parents are in their nineties. I know the blessing that is mine, but the moments are becoming tinged with sadness. It's hard to watch a once vibrant, strong man struggle to get up out of his chair, to see the confusion in his eyes and the frustration over the simplest of tasks. His mandolin sits silently in the corner because of the arthritis in his shoulders and the numbness in his hand. I remember how he used to sit and play the old hymns.

I sit and talk with them, and my heart sinks with the repetition of words spoken just a few minutes ago. I try hard not to correct or remind. The least little thing causes my Mom to worry and fret for days - this one who has always been my best friend, confidant and wise counselor. There are days when she questions why she has lived so long, and I rush in to reassure.

Still, there are lovely moments. Moments when we share laughter and talk about the books we're reading. When the gloom lifts a bit, and the conversation doesn't center around who has died and what will we do with all of our things and what are our assisted living options. They both light up when the great-grandchildren visit. The kids love to hear the stories about the "olden days," and they are delighted to share. Those are precious times.

So I walk through this chapter of my story with a mix of joy and sorrow. In this season, I am learning to treasure each day - to exchange the frustrating moments for grace-filled moments - because I have a Father who does the same for me. And because my Mom and Dad have done that for me.

linking to Jennifer's blog today: