Monday, September 16, 2013

Hidden Treasures

No caregiver would dispute that a walk through a loved one's Alzheimer's disease is a grief-darkened journey.  There have been many sorrows these past nine years as my mother has navigated a slow downward spiral through the stages of this awful disease.  However, there have been unexpected blessings as well.  

My husband and I have drawn closer during this time as we've learned to be co-caregivers for Mom.  He's been so kind to her and so supportive of me that I've fallen in love with him all over again.  This blog, begun nine years ago as a record of the Lord's guidance to us through Mom's Alzheimer's journey, was seen by a book editor, and I became a published author. The caregiving book paved the way for me to finish my first novel, and so the book I'd always wanted to write was published early this spring.  

Last week I decided to tackle cleaning the basement of our 100-year-old house.  The cellar-like lowest level of our old home is dank and dark and I usually avoid it, but it had gotten truly awful and needed my attention.  So I descended the rickety wooden steps, toting a bucket of water mixed with bleach and a stack of garbage bags.  I was busily cleaning and sorting when, at the very back of an old potato bin left behind by the previous owners, I found a heavy, glass object; one I remembered pushing aside during other basement-cleaning attempts over the 40 years we've lived in this house.  It was filthy and thickly coated with red paint, and my hand hovered over the trash sack with the ugly thing.  But a glimmer of light caught scroll work along the bottom edge of the piece, and I hesitated, just as I always had before.  But this time, instead of pushing it back into its dark corner, I carried it upstairs and put it into a sinkful of hot, soapy water.

The red paint began to peel away and I scrubbed in earnest, using steel wool to remove the lines of paint from every crevice.  When I finished I held the heavy thing to the light and was amazed at its beauty.  It is a depression glass oil lamp base, and according to the date around the rim it was patented March 17, 1925.  An internet search revealed an identically shaped and stamped lamp base on ebay that sold for over $80.   

When the Lord brings us through a difficult time there are almost always blessings to be found along with the sorrows.  I never would have expected to find a beautiful lamp base in my awful old basement, nor would I have anticipated any positives at all as a result of Mom's Alzheimer's.  It is so important to remember that God has power to reveal beauty in even the darkest of circumstances.  
"I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name" (Isaiah 45:3).