Pastor Linda's Message Blog

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Pastor Linda

Connecting - April 2019

 

When Things Change, Fear Not



In the past two months, I have spent more time with my brother and sister than I have since we were kids living at home. My extended family resides states apart with my sister in Texas, and my brother in Denver. Even though our adult years have not been lived in close geographic proximity, and it can be many months between face-to-face visits, we have remained soul close.

Our recent story of togetherness is a familiar one. If it is not familiar to you, it will be, as we all reach a stage in life where we take on the care of parents who can no longer care for themselves. In my years of ministry, what I have noticed is that a crisis of some kind brings on a needed life stage change, and the family comes together to help their loved one transition to a new living arrangement. It has been so with us.

Perhaps, the writing had been on the wall for Mom, but she and I were doing our best NOT to read the warning signs. Dementia is a terrible, terrible disease!

In the ER with Mom, a nurse confided in my sister and I that the most strongly independent persons have the hardest time adapting to a new caregiving arrangement. The nurse was telling us tough days lay ahead. The doctor advised the safety and structure of a memory care unit, which is where Mom now resides. She is adapting slowly, grieving all she has lost.

My siblings and I spent 11 days deep in memories, clearing Mom's townhome to be sold. She kept cards and letters we sent to her from our childhood years forward. There was a folder with each of our names on it filled with memorabilia. Mom was never outwardly sentimental, so these saved objects spoke of her love for us.

Through this time, I have been preaching gratitude at church. As difficult as this transition has been, over and over, again and again, I have been filled with gratitude.

One writer who has informed my messages calls gratitude the antidote to the negative emotions that drag you down. Ingratitude fosters feelings of anger, selfishness, resentment, ill will, and bitterness all of which rob us of happiness.

He suggested finding one positive thing, or something you can learn from the negative situation. One kernel of gratitude will lead to another, until a new grateful perspective arises and the dark night of the soul will open toward the light.

By warding off negative emotions, gratitude gives us courage to face the hard things.

What am I grateful for ... I am grateful for the compassionate care Mom is getting. I am grateful for my church and faith, and for kindred, understanding friends who have coached me during this time. I am grateful that I am learning bit by bit to work with Mom's dementia. I am thankful for healthcare professionals who have guided our steps. I am grateful for a supportive husband and children who have pitched in to help. I am thankful for my brother and sister.

No matter our life trials, we have a God who goes before us, and who whispers in our hearts: do not be afraid I am with you ... and I am with your mother too. Amen and Amen. Pastor Linda