Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Cor. 1:3-4
(Note: I have decided, rather than pick a more random verse that is tied to the date as I have the last couple of years, I will start picking verses that relate to the piece. I mainly did it the other way to show the diversity of Scripture, but you get the point. 😉 )
Happy Monday, friends! I hope you had a healthy, pleasant, and life-giving weekend! Mine was a blur, but it was good. We NEED respite time, even if only for an hour here and there. Better said, our brains NEED downtime. Sleep is a piece of the puzzle, but the longer I live, the more I am convinced that we need respite from work/caregiving/the news/the stress of life each day. I recommend prayer and meditation on the Bible, but I know that others find their happy place differently and I also know we can all love each other anyway, right? 🙂
I was just thinking as I have begun trudging through this blessing of a Monday how often the phrase “When it rains, it pours” fits. Don’t hear me wrong, though…I strongly believe that each day has all sorts of opportunities to be a good day regardless of what is thrown at us, but I find it interesting how trials sometimes come in bundles. Case in point…my start to today:
- I woke up late (for me) at 5am. I try to be on my way to my workout by then.
- I forgot my insolated cup with my liquid sustenance (Diet Dr. Pepper) on the counter
- I was already running late when cat #2 arrived, slowly, and wanted his wet food with thyroid pill and CBD chew. (Kind of a Scooby Snack (explanation forthcoming)
- Did my workout and had to get a drive-thru beverage and this happened:
It was at this point that I hit a pivot point. I can get angry/despondent/aloof, or I can wait and think of the many, many great times and days and take some deep breaths…and move on. Most days I wallow. Today I followed my advice and moved on.
Upon leaving McDonald’s, I was blessed with a super pretty sunrise over the ever-amazing Wonders of Wildlife Museum across the street, and I knew I made the right choice. Behold, I was treated with this:
Is life always this bipolarly simple? I mean, all we have to do is cheer up and things will be fixed? Nope. Sometimes it will get worse. But this is where the faith rubber meets the road. Sometimes we will be blessed with something spectacular to aid in our faith’s strengthening, and other times…. we are still given spectacular things all around us to look at for encouragement if we are willing. Think of the sun, for example. It “rises” and “sets” like clockwork every single day, providing not only enough energy to power 1000000 Earths, but providing us with heat, light, plants, and the like. Our response. Complaint. Complaints about its effectiveness in keeping us “just right” on a 3 Bears scale. I am not throwing stones at you, for I live in a less strong than glass house.
But I was thinking about bundles of peril of various sizes. It sure seems like God’s MO is to bundle challenges together to be sure that we recognize the weight of the challenge. Maybe He uses one to prepare us for the other? Maybe each has a separate purpose? It is out of my pay grade to understand, but it is a good exercise for me to try because it helps me make sense out of it. Another, albeit odd peril bundle: My cat and my mom.
Silver, my beloved cat, is in his late teens. He has been our cat since my youngest was a toddler. He has been an inside cat, then an outside cat in some challenging locales to be an outside cat due to foxes, snakes, possums, and worse…) and now he is an inside cat again. He has Feline HIV which means he struggles with his immune system. Lately, he has struggled more mightily and has lost half his body weight and I was just sure his time was up. I found myself complaining and frustrated, thinking that I don’t have the emotional reserve to deal with his passing while continuing the long joy ride of mom’s 13+ year dementia hardship. But then we were blessed with a reprieve for a season. He is slowly gaining a little weight back and can jump on the bed again. He is taking CBD chews for his appetite and thyroid meds for the rest and, so far, so good. He may be gone tomorrow, but his trajectory is trending better. 🙂
In an infinitely more important, ey oddly similar way, mom has struggled for a long time. For 3+ years of living in full-time memory care, her range of challenges has skipped and danced from terrible to more terrible to the most terriblistist when they “called us in” last year, in the height of the previous wave of Covid, to say goodbye. We went by her side and stayed 24/7 for several days until a “funny” thing happened: she got better. So much so that they made us leave again (due to their previous, common, probably justified Draconian policies trying to protect these vulnerable folks. She stayed strong and started “getting better” for a season, just like Silver has lately, and bought us more time with her.
I don’t know if this parallel is even worth the paper this is printed on, but I am thankful for the extra time with both of them. It reminded me too, to look back from whence we have come and to celebrate with mom. She has done her best to stay strong and to bring joy where she can. Silver: in a cat way, the same. Want an example of mom fighting to stay strong? Here ya go, from 3 years ago today:
Here is a YouTube link with it on it in case my video fails over time:
(Here are a couple of other fun videos of us: Link and Link )
- When she said “Will you trade with Jim” at the end, she was referring to me.
- She had fallen a dozen times and her face, despite her wonderful smiles, showed the proof
- She could still speak, but the word salad stage was getting more and more common. She could still pay some wonderful piano and could remember all of the old songs…
- She never gave(gives) up despite evidence to the contrary.
So what can we draw from this? Keep fighting. Keep looking for sunrises. Keep learning about the billon things God lovingly does for us every day. Cling closer to Christ who loves you. Oh, and cling to every minute you have with family, friends…and felines.
Update: Mom keeps fighting. She lets out an occasional chuckle or smirk. She is strong, but the disease is a formidable foe. I will see her several days this week and will be sure to remind her, as always, how proud I am of her getting “better and better”. We don’t talk about the disease…never really have…we just talk in terms of getting her feeling better.
Silver is strong too. He still can’t groom himself, but he now can jump on the bed again. We switched him to his beloved wet food for all meals instead of one per day with dry food always served. That helped too. The CBD chews have made him ravenous. I kind of worry that he will see Flashlight as a walking, meowing bundle of wet food and try to dine on her…he is that hungry. 🙂 Hopefully he stays strong…
Runnin’ Til I’m Purple Update: I am on day 55 in a row of running a 5k or doing at least 30 minutes of Cardio/Strength training. The 31 days of December were all 5k’s, but the January challenge is 5k four times a week and strength/cardio the other three. I am very acclimated to this distance now. I am starting the long process of stretching out my runs a tad. I did a 10 mile run Saturday and a 5 mile on Sunday after church. I will be creeping up a little every week until I will ultimately do a full marathon on back-to-back days a few times leading up to the biggie in June (37ish each way, two days in a row.) I am hoping to raise a bunch of money again this year. We raised $6000 last year ($3k for the Alzheimer’s Association and $3k for SeniorAge). I probably need corporate sponsors (Know anyone? 🙂 ) and some bigger donations this year to make my goal, but I will keep trying regardless. 🙂 Here is my link for that if you want to donate or just see what it is about: LINK I really appreciate all of your amazing encouragement!
Sweet 17 Update: Mom now has 3 of her former Sweet 17 members living in the general population instead of the lockdown unit. The good news: they are no longer a flight risk. The bad news: They are unwell. They don’t remember me from Adam probably wouldn’t even if I took off my mask. I still swing over and smile at them as say high and remind them that we love them. It is hard to see them like that. Mrs. B, one of my favorites, is one of them and she is sooooo frail. She used to love to kiss my hand and hug it. Mrs. S is stoic, as always, but she just stares obliviously, out the window, dreaming of better days ahead. Look at the early posts to read about them more…