Tuesday, July 25, 2017

When The Time to Move Finally Comes


Life in this corner of Blue Springs will change in a big way today. I've debated whether to share this or not. Frankly, I'd rather hold my grief close, so that no one else can touch it. 

As a person who is mostly an introvert, I've sometimes found it difficult to tolerate this job God has given me of living my faith out loud. I don't always feel that way, of course. Right now, however, this "letting people in so they can see how it's done" is a terribly painful, frightening work. 

I've chosen to trust you with our pain again. Handle it well, please, just as you've done before. 

Over the last few weeks, Sam has grown steadily weaker. He's stared death in the face and found it a daunting job. This last bit of life is not for the faint of heart. It's the kind of work that can't be done alone, not easily. My phone calls and visits are no longer enough.

Yesterday, Sam and I had a long talk. It was hard for both of us. Finally, we came to the decision we'd been skirting for a while. Today, Sam will say goodbye to his home of 57 years and move to my house. We'll face this next hard part of his journey together.

Last night, I emailed my pastor, my mission director, my fellow home office staffers, and texted a few friends and family to let them know. I cried a bucketful because, sometimes, tears need to flow. Since I texted and emailed through a veil of tears, I'm not sure who knows and who doesn't. 

If you feel I should have let you know and I didn't, please forgive this impersonal notification. I did the very best I could. 

When I was done with tears, I began the task of turning my dining room into a hospice room. It was well after midnight when I crawled into bed, but the furniture was moved and relocated, a place for the hospital bed was open, plugs for the oxygen were ready. Even my refrigerator was ready to accommodate Sam's protein drinks and banana pudding. 

Today, hospice will send a hospital bed and over-bed table. Someone will come to help me move the oxygen equipment. We've already moved his valuables, but I'll finish packing Sam up and, when the oxygen is moved, we'll move him, too. 

If it sounds like we're waiting for death, we're not. I'll work from home as much as possible. For now, Sam will be by my side. He'll be able to sit on the patio and look at the lake, enjoy the screened porch, snuggle with the Wonder Dogs. 

We know it's going to be an adjustment for both of us. We realize it might be hard. We're both used to that. We've done hard before. 

This morning, I opened my Bible to Jeremiah 29:11. It's my life verse and, as usual, I found considerable comfort there. In case you don't know the context, the verse is part of a letter written by Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon. 

The people of Judah were faithless and, after repeated warnings, God allowed them to be taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. Of course, they were frantic and grief-stricken. Jeremiah had a word from God for them that brings me comfort, even though my situation is not the same. (Leanna paraphrase coming up.)

"Keep living, My children. I know where you are. I sent you there for a reason. Bless the place where you live with your prayers. Seek its welfare. In seventy years, I'll bring you home. It's longer than you want, but I have a reason, even for the length of stay. Before I'm done, you'll seek Me with all your heart, and you'll find Me. Do what I say, and I'll restore in ways you can't yet imagine."

Those words brought great comfort to the people. They grieved the stay but welcomed the promise. 

In a way, that's where Sam and I are. We grieve the need for the stay, but we welcome the promise that, at the appointed time, Sam's Heavenly Father will call him home. We're trusting this is part of God's plan for us. It's for a specified period of time that only God knows. He'll be with us in it, so we'll see His hand all along the way.

If you've visited Sam at his house, you'll be welcome at mine.  

I don't know what kind of help we'll need along the way, but I expect we'll figure it out soon. What I know for sure is that we need your prayers more than ever today, and in the coming days, as well. 

May God bless you for the love you've shown Sam over the years, and the love you've shown me, as well.

"For I know the plans that i have for you," declares the Lord, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
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