In the wake of my book's publication, I'm experiencing a bit of attention that is the nearest thing I'll see in my lifetime to "15 minutes of fame."
It's excruciatingly uncomfortable, and for reasons I can't fully analyze but are probably not noble; it makes me nervous. In an effort to change my attitude my daughter cited an illustration from the movie "Finding Nemo." Marlin and Dory are trapped in the belly of a whale. Dory's found it great fun to slide down a portion of the whale's internal anatomy and as she rushes down she yells "Wheeeeee!" Marlin, by contrast, is fruitlessly butting his head against the wall of the whale's stomach in an effort to escape. Melinda said, "Be like Dory, Mom. Just relax and enjoy this ride."
I did not point out to her that Dory quite obviously has Alzheimer's disease.
The Lord has issued warnings to me. I am to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified, and its ok if I feel fear (See 1 Corinthians 2:2-3). And, I am to guard myself against pride. The Lord's teaching on this subject is this: if I do not seek glory for myself, then I will not be ashamed. And yet He's also made clear to me that I have been set in charge of the distribution of a gift that He has provided to others through me, and that I must not turn away from this Holy charge.
The important element in any Kingdom endeavor is not the person God uses to spread the message, but the message itself. The central messages in My Mom Has Alzheimer's are twofold: 1) There is no obstacle we can encounter in life over which God is not sovereign, and 2) We must give attention to the ways in which we respond to our loved ones who become elderly and infirm. Raising emotional barriers in an attempt to protect ourselves from impending loss results in an impoverishment of our own hearts and those of our loved ones. A refusal to remain emotionally connected to those who are in the process of leaving us makes the final separation more difficult rather than easier.
This morning I wrote the following in an email to a friend:
I get so worried about the wrong things--this morning it is a little money matter that shouldn't really cause me a second thought. There's sin behind this worriment; pray that I am able to rest in the Lord's Sovereign control over my book, my children, and my life. All of those "my's" are suspect; there can be sin lurking in a "my." If all I have and am are His, then I shouldn't have much occasion to use the word "my." If I am His instrument, then I need to think carefully before I blow my own horn!
Please pray for me. Pray that I don't fall to fear of what people think, but keep the Lord firmly in my sights. Pray that I don't fall to the sin of pride. Pray that I fearlessly speak the message with which God has entrusted me on behalf of the elderly who can no longer speak for themselves, and for the caregivers who are battling grief and weariness.
Scripture: "Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should" (Colossians 4:4).