Posted in Family, Pandemic, Religion

Choose Peace

photo of rainbow above trees
Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Two weeks ago was rough. Let me rephrase that. It was devastatingly hard in our household. On that Tuesday I had to rush my dad to ER due to horrible chest pain. He had it for two days but was trying to avoid the hospital for obvious reasons. I drove him rather than call an ambulance because we live four minutes away. I had to drop him at the curb because only patients are allowed in. That was a heartbreaking moment. The minute I pulled up, a very kind nurse rushed over to get my dad. There were little white huts set up for patients to be triaged in. I signed some paperwork and left. He would stay there the rest of the week, being tested for COVID-19 (negative Praise God!), get a heart cath (normal for him, grossly abnormal for anyone else) and an upper GI. His esophagus was the culprit this time. He has such a severe case of GERD that it caused all that horrible chest pain.

I believe and practice the point of view that humor can make it easier to endure. Point in case: when I took Dad to the ER, Mom, who uses a walker, had to go because we can’t leave her alone due to dementia. My son, who has Down Syndrome, also had to come along. Now these two are the slowest of the slow. You cannot rush them. Yet when I yelled that we had to go to the ER both made it to the car in less than three minutes. This included the putting on of shoes making this quite the world record! We looked like crazy people but what can you do?

While Dad was hospitalized, none of us could see him. He is in the hospital several times a year as he has congestive heart failure. Normally Mom is with him all day, and Harold and I pop in and out. Friends come by for short visits and one of the chaplains visits every day. I asked Dad if he was lonely. Five days is a long time! He said he was bored, but never lonely because the staff did a good job of keeping him company.

We were extremely fortunate and blessed that Dad didn’t have the virus, didn’t have to have surgery, and came out unscathed. He’s survived death more times than I can count but this time that was never in the cards. During these days of the virus, thousands of families have suffered the death of loved ones, not even being able to say goodbye. My heart breaks for them every night when I see the death totals on the news.

As a Christ follower, I take great comfort in the scriptures. I was meditating on John 14:27. Jesus is with his disciples. Soon he will be killed on the cross. What will seem like a finality to the disciples becomes the most joyful time of their lives: the resurrection.

The Lord told them “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” There are few things that can shake my heart as when one of my parents are in the hospital, very ill. It comes down to who do I believe? The world has negativity, conflicting views, and advice. Jesus says he already gave me peace. I must choose which I want. Of course, I choose Jesus because he is the only one who has ever calmed my fears. He wants to calm yours as well if you just choose to believe in him. Choose peace!

Posted in Pandemic

Kitchen Table Conversations

It’s early morning. I get out of bed to go to the bathroom, peeking out my bedroom door to see who is still asleep. Mom is sitting outside her bedroom door, dressed.

“Hi Mom. What ‘cha doing?”

“I’m waiting to go downstairs. They went to the store.”

“Who went to the store? Who’s they?”

“My husband.”

“Okay. Give me a minute and I’ll help you.”

I wake my husband and explain Mom wants to go downstairs. Ever since she missed the second stair at the bottom and fell, breaking her wrist, she is afraid to go down alone. Understandably. To get down she holds on to someone’s shoulder. I’d be no help if she loses her balance, so Harold helps her down the stairs and settles her at the kitchen table. I start the coffee as he goes back to bed.

Mom is very fretful right now, like most of us. She has dementia so every time she hears the news about COVID-19 is like the first time. Try as she might to absorb and retain what the news says, it just flies out of her mind. Last night we ordered Chinese. Harold went to pick it up and Mom spun into fearful prayers. When he got home she asked, “Did they wash their hands? Is this bag clean?”

This morning she voices her fear that people will be fighting in the aisles of the grocery store.

“No, Mom. Dad went early for the senior citizen shopping hour. I don’t think any of them have the energy to beat each other up. It’s okay.”

“You never know about people. They surprise you.”

Indeed they do. The door opens and our dog Sandy comes bouncing in followed by Dad.  I ask how shopping went.

“We stood in line for 15 minutes before the store opened. There still isn’t any paper goods. I wanted to make baked beans, but they were out of beans. I got lemons, butter, and squash. Oh, and ketchup and mayo. That’s it.”

Our grocery runs are surreal. We never know what items we will come back with from the list. When I came back from Wal-Mart the other day I was thrilled to have acquired our favorite bread, but I was only allowed one loaf. The farmer markets are considered an essential service in California so tomorrow we will hopefully have beautiful flowers, broccoli, fresh empanadas and sage honey to enjoy.

I awake in the middle of the night vibrating with anxiety. Mom’s days are filled with the same anxieties over and over anew. The whole world grapples with a cruel viral enemy. Yet as a people who believe in the saving power of Christ Jesus, we can agree with Charles Spurgeon who said:

Our sorrows are all, like ourselves, mortal. There are no immortal sorrows for immortal souls. They come, but blessed be God, they also go. Like birds of the air, they fly over our heads. But they cannot make their abode in our souls. We suffer today, but we shall rejoice tomorrow.