Thursday, September 28, 2017

Caregiver Chronicles: Doing This Day Today

Great day Monday. Horrible day Tuesday. Better day Wednesday. I don't like roller coasters at all, and the one we've been on is hard. If you've ever been a caregiver, you know about this. Even if you've been a parent of a toddler, you know how unpredictable days can be.

Last night, I climbed into bed exhausted by the uncertainty of the day. Could we make it? That had been my question all day. 

Sam didn't feel good. He was miserable most of the day, and unusually quiet. He spent a lot of time pondering the future. He didn't want to eat. He insisted he could walk and refused help. Once, he crashed into the china cabinet because of his insistence to "do it myself." Thank God the glass didn't break. When he had to admit he needed help, it was yet another blow.

I had errands to run, so we loaded up and drove to Tupelo. Sam sat in the car while I dashed into the buildings, did my business, and dashed back out. "This is helping me," he insisted. It was a break in the monotony of his sick room.

"I just have to do today," I told myself over and over again. And I did it. One hour at a time.

Last night, I lay in bed, prayed, and thought back over the day. There had been some hard times, but, as a whole, it hadn't been a bad day. We'd taken it one moment at a time, and done it.

It's the way I write a book. I have a picture of the whole story in my head, but the writing is done one scene at a time. A situation arises, and the characters respond as the author directs. 

That's how I'm facing today. It's a "get some work done at home" day. There are goals to accomplish, but we're taking it one scene at a time. Today, when situations arise, I'll direct myself to respond in a patient and godly manner. 

I'm choosing how my part of the scene will go.

When I look at the big picture of taking care of Sam from now until his death, however far away that is, it's overwhelming. The changes it requires in my life are hard, and they aren't always enjoyable. If I look at the long run, it's too difficult, and an easier way seems very attractive.

This isn't a long run, however. It's a series of short sprints, taken one day at a time.

I don't have to worry about tomorrow, or the day after that. I don't have to fret about next week. All I have to concern myself with is today, and I can do this day, one step at a time.

I've been in hard situations before. They seemed interminable. All I could see was the long haul, and it appeared too hard to do. I wonder now if I might've had a different response and a better outcome if I'd taken those hard situations in smaller increments. Could I have found my way through in a more godly manner? 

No matter what our circumstances, no matter what problems we encounter, we don't solve them (or survive them) instantly. We do it a day, an hour, at a time. 

If you're in a hard place, take your eyes off the endpoint and put them firmly on this hour. Live it to the best of your ability. Respond to the challenges with the most godly behavior possible. Honor God in this moment, and deal with the next when it comes. 

Can we make it? Yes, we can. We're doing this day today. We'll worry about tomorrow when it comes.

"Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself..." Matthew 6:34 nasb
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Caregiver Chronicles: When you Have to Keep Choosing to Go the Distance

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