Much Endurance



What is my blog going to be about?  Why do I feel compelled to offer a mission statement?  I suppose it is because my husband’s blog, Sacred Day, is focused on seeking ways to help Christians practice simple practical spiritual disciplines which will help them worship God.

I think this blog will be about my own journey toward a Sacred Day.  My life verse is “For you have need of much endurance, for when you have done the will of God, you will receive what was promised,” Heb. 10:36.  Many times in life, I have more than endured.  I have rejoiced, sang, laughed, and sat thoughtfully pondering the wonder of living, loving and experiencing this world.  However, sometimes I have just endured.  Often that was because of my own selfish desires and lack of trust in God.

Today I got another call from my mother-in-law.  I get a call most days.  She has Alzheimers and lives in a nursing home about five miles from us.  My husband is her guardian.  I handle all of the financial work and take her to the doctor.  We share the burden of her emotional care.  Even before she had Alzheimers, she was difficult.  Now she can sometimes be impossible.  At one point about a year ago, I realized that my heart began racing in panic when I heard her ring on my cell phone, so I decided I had the right to not take her calls.  Now she calls at home.  Sometimes she is pleasent.  Most of the time she is crying, angry or deeply depressed.  Since her husband, Michael, died two months ago, she has become more and more confused.

Today, she was pleasent and seemed relatively cheerful.  Yet, her first words caught my heart, “Where is Michael?  Have you seen Michael?  I haven’t seen him in a few days.”

This has become a standard opening conversation between us.  Altough she and her husband lived at the same nursing home and she watched him decline, she needs continual reminders about what happened to him.  When I tell her, “Michael died about two months ago.  He lived with you and you went to see him most days.  We told you when he died but you said you did not want to see his body,” she remembers, or re-remembers.

“That’s right.  I didn’t want to see him.  What did he die of?”

“Kidney cancer, ” I tell her, and that is what is written on the death certificate, but his rapid descent into Alzheimers seems to us to be at least equally the cause of his death.  Then in anticipation of other questions I’ve answered over and over I add, “He didn’t have any pain and he even joked with his nurse the day he died.  You went to see him the day before.”

“Oh, that’s right.  I remember.”

Some days there are more questions to answer:  Where am I?  Why can’t I buy a house?  Why do you and Christopher have all my money?

Telling someone that their spouse has died is a difficult thing.  There is a sense of relief when you are released from the burden of carrying that dreadful news.  Having to tell a person there spouse has died over and over again is emotionally draining.  It is enduring.  It is a sacrifice of the Sacred Day.


2 responses »

  1. Hi Virginia,
    I am so happy to catch up on your happenings and the kids on your blog. I especially am humbled and blessed, filled with repentance and hope as I read your blog on sacrificial service. I am reading the book THE HEAVENLY MAN and think of your family as I do so because of the connection to the country that you have.
    Hi to Chris and the family.

    Blessings and Hugs
    Katie Peebles
    Here, there or in the air.

  2. Hi Katie! It is so good to hear from you. Please let me know if you have a blog I can read. I’m emerging from the haze of 14 years of preschoolers and hoping to get back in touch with friends from the past. So much of who I am is based on all of the things that you taught me with your words, and more importantly, with your actions. I have read The Heavenly Man–it is an incredible book which humbles me to prayer. I hadn’t read much about China before my first trip, but when I got home I devoured everything I could find about Chinese history and especially about Christianity in China. Luckily, someone at Baylor had studied that topic and there were a number of good books in the library. Recently, I’ve found some missionary biographies in our church library that I’ve really enjoyed. These books didn’t have a big printing and some of them hadn’t been checked out since 1971! Really that is too bad because the stories they tell about what China was like in the early 20th century is amazing. Much love to you! Virginia

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