A few people have asked me why I write this blog. I guess it’s the fact that I’m putting my inner soul on display for all to see that makes them uncomfortable. A form of emotional nudity (Is that too far?)
Still, it’s a good question.
The truth is that a few months ago, my son and I were talking about the struggles of watching my wife and his mom go through declining cognitive ability, and he suggested that I blog about it so that others can have hope. We agreed that I should be real, to talk about the pain. But we also agreed that in the end, I should point others to the path I am attempting to take – the path that leads to ultimate reality – Jesus.
It’s a good thing to know that you are not alone. It’s also a good thing to know that, regardless of the inevitable outcome of her disease (barring direct intervention by God), there is hope. And it’s also a good thing to know that you have a mighty throng of people who are holding you up, not only in prayer, but in offers to put skin on their concern and help with the hard stuff.
And so I put my anguish and pain on display for all to see. But in the end, I want to point to Jesus – the one who made peace between God and me and who sits at the right hand of God interceding for me. I ultimately point to him because there is no other single person who can make a legitimate offer to make this right.
Jil and I were talking today about the inevitability of death. It may be morbid to some, but I find myself looking at my youngest grandchildren and thinking that they too will come to terms with their own mortality at some point.
I actually don’t think it’s morbid – it’s reality. And the healthiest approach to life a person can have is to live like they’re dying. We all have a terminal disease. You may not know it yet, but you are dying.
The odd thing about living with the knowledge that a life is coming to a close is that it changes how you decide what is important. Things are replaced by people all of a sudden. That’s why bucket lists are so stupid to me. So what if I climb Mt. Everest or skydive for the first time. I still die, and I take my bucket list to the grave.
What I’ve discovered is that I’m much more concerned about learning to be patient with Jan while I have the chance. I want to supply her needs like I never have. I want to love her like I never have.
So I watch stupid chick flicks. I listen to her tell the same stories over and over as if I’m hearing them for the first time. I’m learning not to correct her factual errors when she tells about something that happened long ago. We eat at restaurants I don’t like.
I am also keenly aware that others are watching me to see how I respond to what would destroy the hopeless. That’s important to me. To know that someone else is on the brink of emotional and spiritual frenzy because they too are facing something catastrophic and see me giving my pain and anguish to my Father.
Yes, time is short. But truthfully, it always has been. And it has been for you too. Maybe you just don’t know it yet.
Yes, it’s tough feeling the full impact of mortality. But it’s real…as real as it gets.
I can’t do anything about tomorrow. Neither can I know the future. But here and now – the place where we live? That I can handle. Today I can decide who I am going to believe. Today I can choose to pursue truth at all costs. And the ultimate future? That I am sure of. No matter what the next few years bring to our life, in the end I am as victorious as I can be. So is Jan. This knowledge doesn’t remove my pain, but it sure does knock the edges off of it. I’m living like a winner today even though I haven’t yet received the prize.
And when that day comes – the day of complete and permanent victory – I will look back on this day and ridicule my own self for my suffering. And best of all, I will taunt Satan and his minions saying, “You can’t touch me now.”
I am grateful for the expressions of sympathy and sorrow. But if my situation doesn’t lead you to seek Christ as the stream of Truth, you’ve missed my point.
So run after him. Pursue him. Plead with him to reveal the truth about him. And by his Spirit, follow him. You won’t find fulfillment any where else.
My beloved Father and my Lord, I am filled with grief and shame that your promise isn’t enough to put my heart at rest all of the time. I’m clinging on to you with a faith so small that sometimes I wonder if I truly do trust you at all. But you promised me that a minuscule faith in you is far better than a monumental faith in a god who is small. So that’s enough for me – for now. Just protect my heart until it’s time to fully reveal yourself to me. I’m okay with that.