This past week The Fella and I were going to be in Portland Oregon, for the Portland Rose Festival. Obviously, that didn’t happen and you know what? I don’t even care. Instead, we were dealing with #3 and his life. Phone messages flew back and forth, The Fine Wife keeping us updated on #3’s slow-but-steady progress, baby steps of encouragement and lessons on patience and endurance. I feel funny saying that, because it’s only been a couple of weeks and to me, endurance through something like this calls to mind something along the lines of months and years. It still may mean that, but the little signs of open eyes and the way his eyes follow The Grandpunkin around the room mean so much.
I’ve said before I have no idea how all this is going to unfold and play out. But then do any of us? We make plans, and forget that God is the one who’s directing this show. (Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. Proverbs 19:21)
But in all this…I was exhausted. I can only imagine how The Fine Wife feels, or #3, too. She’s been with him nonstop through this. I will be going back to where he’s at tomorrow, so she can go home for a few days. I hope she will be able to take a breath, maybe sleep an entire day (like I did Thursday). I am holding so hard to God right now He’d have fingerprint dents in His arm. I have this image in my mind, that sort of thing you see when a toddler is frightened and she’s holding on really tight to her father because she knows he’ll keep her safe, and he’s holding on tight to her because he wants her to know he’ll protect her. (Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life; You stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand delivers me. Psalm 138:7)
I read somewhere credible that the sense of smell is used with therapies for people with brain injuries. Smell is the most powerful memory-kicker. Think about what your grandmother’s house always smells like, or a particular perfume, and how smelling a pot roast reminds you of Sundays after church. I’ve been making a list of things I know #3 likes, and figuring out how to capture those scents so I can wave them under his nose. Mexican food, cordite, pickles, coffee…how to bag those aromas up and take them to him. What kind of shampoo does The Fine Wife use, what does Grandpunkin get washed in, what does home smell like? Today will be spent bagging aromas (or trying to). I’ve got some herbs in the garden- mint, cilantro- that will go as well.
Today will be packing and planning, gathering stuff for #3: a bluetooth speaker so he can listen to music from my phone. Fragrant things. Reading material for me. Planning and making lists and getting things in order. I want to take walking shoes because there’s 2 bits of time I’m not supposed to be in the room and those would be good times to take a trot around the hospital grounds for exercise. Last time I went was in an all-fired panic and I forgot to pack shirts and underwear, and had to make a quick trip to Stuff-Mart for such. This time, I’ll probably overpack but whatever. Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. I need to remember a coffee cup, as refills are cheap (or free, if I can figure out which floor has a volunteer that day) Chargers for phone, speaker, and laptop. There I am, already listing. ( Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. Proverbs 6:6-8)
Preparing makes me feel like I can be useful. The past few days of not being there with #3 was a little unnerving, but I know that he didn’t need me hovering and crying and flapping my hands. The time allowed me to gather my senses and rely on The Fine Wife’s calm spirit and sensible manner to take care of him exactly how he needed. Now I can go there, follow her lead on things, and let her take a break. The plan is to take care of him in this way- tag-teaming so we each can recuperate and be who he needs.
But the down time…so important. Doing nothing, thinking about nothing more pressing than whether to use peanut butter or almond butter on a sandwich, being able to put the situation in God’s hands completely (as a control freak, I have trouble with that) and trust Him to take care of #3 (which He has, far beyond my expectations), has meant I feel rested and ready to give The Fine Wife a break.
I want to thank everyone who has been praying for #3 and Family. God hears our prayers, and answers them according to His will. (I cried to Him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because He has not rejected my prayer or removed His steadfast love from me! Psalm 66:17-20) (And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him. 1John 5:14-15) (and many many other bits all woven throughout the Bible that assure us God hears our prayers). It is so incredibly encouraging to all of us involved in this. I will pass your messages of love and encouragement on to #3.