Thursday, November 9, 2017

Caregiver Chronicles: Life After Sam

Someone asked me recently how Sam and I became connected. I hesitated. Finally, I said, "I don't want you to think bad of me, but I got Sam in a real estate transaction, but it's not as awful as it sounds." A moment of silence followed that revelation. 

In 1989, I bought a 120-acre farm in Union County. Sam had worked there for nearly thirty years and it was home to him. Neither he nor the owners wanted him to leave the land or the caretaker cottage in which he lived. Many people had looked at the farm, but no one wanted to make a long-term commitment to Sam, who was nearly 60 years old. 

I, on the other hand, had no idea how to take care of the farm. I needed Sam, so I agreed to let him stay. With that simple agreement, Sam became my responsibility for the rest of his life.

Sam did the work I couldn't do. He bush hogged, trimmed azaleas, shoed the horses, neutered calves, cleaned the fish we caught, built fences and repaired them. He did any job that needed doing, especially those jobs I didn't want to do, didn't know how to do, or wasn't strong enough to do.

And now. . . I still have the farm with bush hogging and trimming and cleaning and heavy work, but I don't have Sam. 

I've learned a lot over the years, of course. I learned to take the garbage out of the compactor, drive the tractor, build a fence, and use the tiller when Sam had the subdural and was in the hospital. I learned to clip the goats and trim their hooves when he broke his hip. I learned to trim the azaleas and garden for myself when he was sick with pneumonia. 

Yesterday, I needed to move something heavy and, for a split second, I thought about calling Sam. . . but he's with Jesus now. 

I sat down and cried. "Lord, how am I going to take care of myself without a Sam?" I prayed. 

That still, small voice spoke loud and clear. "I will help you." In that instant, I remembered all the answered prayers, all the times God had sent help at just the right moment, all the ways He's given me wisdom when I didn't know what to do. 

I'm in a new, Sam-less season, and I miss him, but God will provide, just like he always does. 

Last night, I finished cleaning the floor in the dining room that served as Sam's bedroom for the last few months. "Lord, I need to move my dining table back and it's too heavy for me. How am I going to get that done?" 

This morning, I found a message from a friend. "Do you need any help moving furniture back in place?" I laughed out loud. Yes, I do need help moving furniture! God has continued the work of providing for every need, just as He's always done.

This morning, I've found great encouragement in these words: "I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, "Do not fear. I will help you.'" Isaiah 41:13 And He will.

No matter what we face, we have a Heavenly Father who cares about every problem, ever need. If we face hard times and jobs that are too big for us, there's no need for despair. Instead, turn to the One who holds the universe in His hands, and holds us, too. Turn to the One who will never leave us or forsake us. Turn to our Father and let Him help you, just as He's promised. That's what I plan to do.

"I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, "Do not fear. I will help you.'" Isaiah 41:13 
In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: When Sam Couldn't Stay and I Had to Say Goodbye

Visitation for Sam Wiley is Friday, November 10th 12:30 to 2 pm with memorial service to follow in the choir room at Hope Church, Tupelo. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to "Sam Wiley Memorial Fund" by mailing your check or money order to: Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put "Sam's Fund #5136" in the "for" line. 

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