The last several weeks have been a whirlwind for Janet and me, as well as the rest of the family. Since Janet’s RA diagnosis, she has been a bit more quiet – so have I…. We spent quite a bit of time discussing this last week-end, between my trips to New Jersey last week and then Dallas on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Kristin’s divorce is over, Jill is coming for Mother’s Day and Andrew has been very helpful as we adjust to the changing rhythms in our family as we realize that new routines are everywhere.
First and foremost, Janet is quite reflective these days. I know that she is processing the changes in her body and in her life. Each morning, when she awakes, she immediately knows where the pain has settled in her muscles. And having had a birthday on April 2nd, and then getting this news around the same time, she is wrestling with the reality of aging and even a little fear about the future. She just started her heavier duty meds last night and we know that it will take weeks, or even months, before the doctors get her dosages regulated to the point where she can enjoy a relatively normal life. One of the biggest challenges she faces is fatigue – she just doesn’t have any energy… and that’s strange to see in someone who has always been so active.
And, to let you in on a little secret, I have been reflecting on and processing the changes in my role as well. The thing that is toughest for me is to face the reality that this isn’t grandparents, or parents, that we are talking about here. This is our generation – my wife – and that hits pretty close to home. I guess fundamentally that I expect elder generations to face battles and there is something a little insular about being a generation away from all that. But now, with something so physically challenging for Janet, this will undoubtedly affect the way we lead our lives.
Notice that I said “our lives.” That’s because we are a team. I know that Janet is facing this health issue, this is not about me, but I am right by her side. She is not alone – to say nothing of God, and His presence in her life. Together, Janet and I will make whatever adjustments are necessary to manage a vibrant life for us. But I already notice that Janet has more trouble holding dishes, or papers, or picking up things. Last Saturday evening we played bridge with our neighbors and I noticed the changes in her hands as she held the cards. It was probably at that moment that the reality of all this hit me.
So individually, and collectively, we are sort of taking all this in and thinking about it. Usually we talk about it, but sometimes we don’t – because Janet doesn’t usually complain and I am having trouble getting her to tell me when and where she hurts. She says that she is tired of talking about being in constant pain. I get that…..
I am trying to work shorter hours and to make sure that I am home to help as much as I can. I am doing even more by phone and email without necessarily having to be onsite. I also notice that we are bringing in many more meals than we used to – it just doesn’t make sense for Janet or me to waste our limited energy on fixing dinner and doing dishes. Last week, I had a call about an opportunity to possibly do additional work in Ft. Worth, TX. I don’t know if I want to be away from the house several additional days per month…. we’re discussing it.
I just can’t think of anything more appropriate to reflect on than Psalm 139. The psalmist starts out recalling how God is always with him, everywhere, all the time. He then moves on to how God created him; and how God knows him better than anyone else. Just just think about that for a moment – God is always with us, always, and knows us better than anyone else. Likewise, God has already created the plan for each of our lives. He is in control. The last part of the psalm is the part that I love the best. Because the psalmist is about to enter a new season of his life and he wants to make sure that he does it well, honoring God in the process.
So he asks God to search his heart and to immediately make any changes that need to be made so that the next years can be done well…. That’s how I feel – Lord, help me to do this next season well – helping Janet – and make sure that you change anything in me that needs to change to accomplish your will for my life. Please, Lord…..
The verse for this evening is the end of Psalm 139. It’s a terrific passage. We are told in verses 23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
My encouragement tonight is that God is with you all the time and knows you better than anybody. And, of course, my prayer is that you will ask God to search your heart and change whatever needs to be changed to make you the person He wants you to be. After all, he wants you to do this next season well.
Please, Lord, search me….. Grace and peace….