Nouns. Right there on the tip of her tongue. She knows things have names, but increasingly, they float away before she can use them.

“I need one of those things you use to get jelly out a jar…a…shoot! I can’t remember what to call it.”

“Spoon?”

“That’s it! What is wrong with me?”

Relationships are now sloughing off the surfaces of her brain too.

“I want to go see my son…the one married to Jil.”

“How many grandkids do I have? What are their names? How many children do we have? I know Melissa, but I can’t remember who the others are.”

“We have three kids? Who’s the third one? Is he married?”

“Oh, God,”I lament, “Where are you?”

I pray for healing, but God never promised that…not in this life…not now. But as long as it’s possible, I’ll beg him for it like a man stranded in the desert longing for just one more drink of water. Just a drop or two. The thirst is real – unquenchable.

And then I pray for God to take her to where she longs to go more than I long for healing. Morbid? Cruel? Perhaps it is inconceivable that a man would pray for his wife to find relief in the physical presence of her Father in heaven, but it is is what she desires – always has.

“You know what I miss most of all? Reading my Bible. I love God’s word.”

She said that last night. So I will read it aloud to her more and more.

Sometimes, I think I cannot bear it – the future. But it isn’t about me, is it? Besides, my Father promised me that I can bear up under the weight of it all. With joy!

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

“Dear God, forgive me for being afraid. I believe you – forgive my unbelief.”

I find that I am in the position of wanting to believe what my God has promised me over what I, a deeply flawed and sinful man, fears is true – that I cannot carry on in faithfulness. That fear hovers over me day and night.

“Father, I deserve no good thing that you give me or any blessing I plead for. I am fully aware of my unworthiness. But Dear God, give me a heart for you that compels me to steadfastness. And grant me the grace I need to be as faithful as your daughter – the woman you have given me.”

This isn’t about dementia, or death – we all die. And I really don’t write these things to illicit pity. I am motivated to, first of all, align my thinking with the will of God. I want to find strength in what is really permanent -the lasting things of life. And I know that everything in my life – even my breath (and hers) belong to God and will one day be taken away from me…from us. The only thing that will transcend this life is whether or not my faith in God is expressed in love for him and for my fellow man…for her.

I don’t expect that I will accomplish this desire today or tomorrow – maybe never. But it’s the journey I want to be on more than anything else. Imagine that – imperfect, insignificant me being led by the God who spoke the heavens into being to love like he loves. I could never have done it on my own. He leadeth me – it’s just that I am a stubborn and unruly student.

And I also desire to help point others – maybe you – to follow the same God who loves me – and you. It almost takes my breath away.

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