My dad died 12 years ago, but my mother lingers as a sort of living memory of who she was. It is sometimes almost uncanny that she still has the same voice and mannerisms, but much of who she was is absent.
Once, not long after my father went home to the Lord, I had a vivid dream of him. It was incredibly painful to see him and to be so clearly reminded of him in that dream. It made me understand the wisdom of the mandate in Scripture that we not seek to interact with the dead. Alzheimer’s disease creates a situation for the caregiver that is reminiscent of the sorrow I experienced as a result of the dream of my dad.
The most difficult aspect of caring for my mother is this ongoing, ever present pain that comes from seeing her face and hearing her voice, but not being able to interact with her through meaningful conversation. She's not able to support me as she once did because she has lost the ability to grasp the nuances and depth of meaning that has to occur for mutually supportive interactions take place.
In spite of all of the pain, it has been sweet to learn of the Lord in the midst of it. A life of comfort would not have brought me to the knowledge and awareness I now have of Him.
With these thoughts still lingering in my mind, I read today's reading from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, that includes the following quote:
If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain, but what He pours through us that counts. It is not that God makes us beautifully rounded grapes, but that He squeezes the sweetness out of us. Spiritually, we cannot measure our life by success, but only by what God pours through us, and we cannot measure that at all.Ministering to my mom has been sweet, because the sweetness of the Savior is present with me through the joy and through the pain.
Scripture: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance" (James 1:2-3).