Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grandma's Long Journey

Gratitude Journal
1. Ruth Elizabeth Adcock
2. Grandma's faith
3. Grandma's laughter... even today!
4. My wife's family
5. My own fifty-five plus years of memories...

"Raise up a child in the way it should go and when it is old, it will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

Grandma has not been with us for the past two months. At least, not the Grandma of old. She suffered a stroke and lost most of her short term memory. Every day we have to introduce her to the staff or her room and furniture. In the early hours of the day she slowly wanders the halls looking for her mom and dad. If she makes it until July 1, 2012 - she will have lived 94 years. That is a lot of candles!

Grandma has been a part of my life since before her daughter, Mary Beth and I married in 1966. When I graduated from college we left and moved over 1000 miles away from Mary Beth's family - something I still have regrets about, even today. It was almost a year before they were able to visit us and almost two years before we made the trip all the way back to their home in Florida.

I am sure there were tears on their end... particularly for Grandma. However, she was never critical. And that has been true of her nature all along. She has rarely had an unkind thing to say about anyone through the years.

These recent months have been difficult for both me and Mary Beth. This once vibrant personality is but a small frail shadow of who she use to be. On occasion we are able to get a smile from her. There are brief moments when she will actually laugh out loud, but we don't know why. She tries to talk to us, but the words are gibberish most times.

She is most settled when I read scripture to her. Particularly when I read those passages that would be most familiar: Psalm 23 or some Parable or the beginnings of Genesis. She will be calm and peaceful and then try to say something back. I sooth myself into believing that she is pleased and appreciative and that the words touch some deep place within.

Grandma's journey is not what we expected in August when we moved her to Hospice Care. Removing all the meds we thought we hasten her peaceful transition. However, God knew better. Grandma rebounded and now eats better than I do. She is slowing and declining for sure. But each day we visit not knowing what new chapter we/she may face.

It definitely is a long journey home... It is a long, long journey! And it is a journey we would not have wished for this dear saint. But we trust her faith is still in her God and there is something she is teaching us as we walk with her...

We are thankful for those who minister to her needs when we are not around. We are thankful for calls and notes of concern from family and friends. We have much to be thankful for.

God, we pray for peace and hope to sustain Grandma and us as we all continue on this journey in Your care!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Blessing of Self-Awareness

Gratitude Journal
1. Journaling - on again/off again since 8th grade
2. Spiritual retreats - significant encounters with nature
3. Special authors who put words to my deepest thoughts
4. Special people - counselors, pastors, friends... gifts on my journey!
5. Prayer - in all it's forms!

Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you... JEREMIAH 1:5

When I was younger I spent lots of time day-dreaming. When I needed to escape my surroundings or some anxious time all I needed to do was stare out the window and I could enter a world of peace and hope and no pain. I could construct castles, develop relationships with a host of people - young and old alike, and travel not only to distant, exotic places, but also to unusual places as well... I once dreamed of living in the innermost part of a small tree in our backyard.

As I grew older the authorities in my life became more demanding of my time. There were expectations for study and appropriate attentiveness and behaviors. Time for 'dreaming' came less often. But also greater stress and depression began to creep into my experience.

I was never physically wounded or harmed by my family of origin, but 'the sins of the fathers (and mothers)' really were passed down from several generations and compounded before they landed on my path. I do not blame or hold responsible anyone before me! God knows they had to carry their own woundedness and burdens!

If I have a regret it is that the gift of self-awareness, self-confidence, and self-discipline were not available to me much earlier!

Richard Rohr says that we spend the first half of our lives building the container and the second half of life working on the content.

I believe I went way past the first half of my life working on the outside, while plagued by emotional wounds and pains that prevented me from moving on more appropriately and productively. My inner journey was born late and it has proved to be the most rewarding.

In recent years I have been introduced to persons who reflect on the faith journey in new and exciting ways. Many of them have been wounded too. Yet they have made peace with the past and have offered their musings as bits of hope and joy for others. Nouwen, Merton, Buechner, Rohr, Oliver are just a few.

Assessments too have been tools; MBTI and the Emmeagram have been most helpful.

I wish I could give this gift to others. But alas, it is one that must be unwrapped by each of us. Yet, I do plan on Coaching folks toward greater sensitivity to their inner voice. And I pray that my questions will reap rewards for those I engage along the remainder of my odyssey!