Monday, October 27, 2014

Healing Balm

I have suffered an attack of hip bursitis, which, as a helpful internet source tells me, occurs mostly in  middle-aged and elderly women. 


Bursitis often erupts following unaccustomed physical exercise. I had begun a brisk walking program, and in a burst of overconfidence chose to do my middle-aged/elderly version of a jog up and down a small hill adjacent to our house.

My right hip now hurts, especially at night. I am biding my time and praying to avoid things like doctor visits and cortisone shots, and if you would pray this with me I would be very grateful.

This morning I made my awkward, grumbling way out of bed and staggered over to the mirror that hangs above the old oak dresser. I'd not slept much, and though I ought to have reached for my Bible, had spent fruitless time worrying about my Alzheimer's mom and the future instead.  I leaned toward the mirror and examined the circles beneath my eyes in close detail, which did not improve my mood. Quoting Gideon, I addressed my reflection:  "If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?" (Judges 6:13).

I now feel silly and melodramatic as I confess how upset I felt over an aching back and my healthy, albeit dementia-impacted, 90-year-old mom.  But there it is; this morning I placed my relatively minor trials on a par with being under siege by Midianites, and I felt I understood Gideon's plaintive question. Why, Lord?  If You are with us why do these things happen?

I wept a little (self-pity, no doubt) and then reached for a tin of Cloverine salve and applied the comforting stuff to my reddened nose. My poor nose is often irritated this time of year with seasonal allergies, and I'm always a little surprised at how much discomfort a stinging, chapped nose can cause. But when I carry my trusty container of Cloverine with me and reapply often, I have no discomfort at all.

At this I felt the little heart nudge that tells me the Lord would like to make a point, although I admit I was a bit hesitant to accept an analogy between the healing balm of Gilead and my humble pot of Cloverine. But the connection is obvious, even to a middle-aged (or elderly) woman who has a hitch in her get along and an Alzheimer's mom: I can receive healing and strength if I will liberally partake of Scripture and reapply as needed.

Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.  
--1 Peter 5:7

Monday, October 20, 2014


When I did an internet search for the word "respite," here is what I found:

noun: respite
a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant
synonyms:rest, break, breathing space, interval, intermission, interlude, recess, lull, pause, time out

Every caregiver needs respite. I remember reading that Susanna Wesley would throw her apron over her face and at this sign, her 19 children knew she was not to be bothered because she was praying.  That was Susanna's respite, and bless her heart, the Lord did help her as evidenced by by the Godly children she raised (her boys John and Charles began the Methodist church, among other accomplishments).  

I find respite in prayer too, but unlike Susanna, I'm able to be outside quite often. This suits me, because nothing refreshes my spirit more than finding God in nature. I return from my daily walks a calmer, kinder caregiver. 

If you are on the front lines of caregiving, find your respite first in the Lord, and then look for that much needed oasis of rest (break, breathing space, time-out). God can strengthen us to bear burdens we never thought we'd be able to carry, but regular times of rest are a part of any strengthening program.

My respite comes in spending time on the farm with my husband, daily walks, and taking photos that attempt to capture the beauty in nature that I so love.  If you'd like to see the photos from tonight's appropriately spooky-for-the-season walk, visit the post at my farm blog entitled October Sunset. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Good Times

Many caregivers find themselves members of the sandwich generation, caught between the needs of aging parents and growing children.  Because my mom's Alzheimer's has spanned ten years of time, I've experienced many sandwich-type moments, such as the day I found myself bathing my slippery and unhappy toddler grandson in the morning and my slippery and unhappy Alzheimer's mom that same night.

This time of life offers many moments of joy along with some times of frustration and exhaustion.  It is mostly good, and the sad or bad times cause me to cry out to the Lord, and that's good too. 

Today I've written a little treatise on the sadness and joy of being parents of adult children.  If you would enjoy reading about the yummy fall menu we served for a family dinner this weekend and how our momentary pang of sorrow turned to peace when our children pulled out of the driveway for their respective homes, hop on over to "Good Times Then and Now."