Divine appointments

Yesterday was the last Thursday that the ladies ministry Emily babysits for met for the summer. During the school year, I attended the study, but for a variety of reasons, I decided not to do so over the summer. Instead, I have scheduled doctor's appointments, or brought in my laptop and worked in the church lobby while Emily worked in the nursery.

Except for the group of men from a local halfway house that cleans the church building, the ladies in the study group and one or two ladies that work in the pastor's office, no one else usually comes into the church on Thursday mornings and the front doors are kept locked.

Yesterday, I was working on my laptop, when I an older gentleman came to return a wheelchair that he had borrowed from the church. After we decided on a good place to leave it where someone would put find it and put it in its proper place, I returned to the couch near the front door where I had been working, and the gentleman occupied the chair near by. Something in our conversation had prompted him to stay - though I can't recall what it might have been.

The gentleman told me that he and his wife, both in their early 80's, had been members of the church since the 1950's - that he had been a deacon and had served in multiple leadership positions over the years - but that caring for his wife had made it impossible for him to be involved like he had been.

He told me that his 14 year old grandson was at home with his wife, which was why he was able to leave her for a while, and that she had recently been discharged from a rehab center where she had recovered from surgery for a broken hip; and as our conversation continued, he revealed to me that she suffered from dementia, as well. "She has learned to use the walker," the gentleman explained, "but if I don't watch her all the time, she forgets and tries to walk without it. I'm afraid that she will fall again."

As he continued to describe her dementia, I let him know that I understood. We shared a variety of caregiving experiences and challenges, like helping someone with dementia understand that a loved one has died. I told him about my mother and how she would say, "I haven't seen your dad lately." Instead of reminding her of dad's death and watching her grieve all over again, I learned to repond with, "I haven't seen him either, mom."

The genleman told me, "They tried to get me to put her in a nursing home."

"What did you tell them?" I asked.

"I told them that maybe I will have to some day, but not now. That this is why God let me survive a heart attack 15 years ago, and as long as I can care for her myself, I will."

We talked for quite a while before he concluded that his grandson might be worried and that maybe he should leave. I told him to contact me if there was ever anything I could do to help - and I hope he knows that I meant it.

And I silently prayed for him, thanking God for this divine appointment. I hope I was able to encourage him, Lord. I prayed for the rest of his family - that they will be like Aaron and Hur and hold up their father's arms if he grows unable to do so himself.



Anonymous creativehsmom said...

What a beautiful post. May this man who has made the decision to care for his wife at home be strengthened, filled and blessed by the Lord Almighty.
God bless you abundantly Patricia for the compassion that you have shown.
In His Love,

4:09 PM  

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