Life comes fast, and overwhelming. But that isn’t all there is, right? (guest post by Mel)
Last week our water heater went out. Besides that, the wheelchair van was completely out of gas and the civic’s battery was dead. Joe also told me that his work badge needed to be renewed within the next month in order to keep working. All of this hit me like a brick to the face and my anxiety slowly began to eat away at me. I can take care of Joe all day but when house stuff goes wrong or things happen that I’m not familiar with, I freak out a little on the inside. All I could think about was not having hot water for Joe, which meant the dishes and laundry might not be clean and he’d get sick from the germs and then the van didn’t work so I wouldn’t be able to drive him to the hospital. Then I thought about if Joe could even make it to work to renew his badge and very selfishly wondered how much longer he could work at all. My anxiety spiraled and I may have had a small breakdown on the phone to Elena about all of this. I was also anxious because we had a caretaker coming for the first time to sit with Joe for a few hours so I could run a few errands. While it should have come as a welcome relief, I was anxious about leaving when I felt like I should be dealing with all of this stuff at home.
Fast forward to the afternoon. When I came home a beautiful bouquet of flowers had been delivered with this note.
Side note, Joe used to always get me roses and Delphiniums. Delphiniums were the closest flower to blue, which is my favorite color. I don’t know if Elena knew all of this, but wow! Her note was beautiful and just what I needed to hear. Faith, trust and surrender…the total opposite of what I had been doing.
My brother in law, Andy, came over and put gas in the van and replaced the car battery on the civic. He also fixed one of the cables on my van door that was making a horrible noise every time it closed. He even brought me donuts!! He also offered to help Joe with his badge and figure out the easiest way to get it done. More checked off my to-do list of worries.
With the help of my other brothers-in-law, Dave and Joey, I was going to have the water heater replaced that day. I had already resigned myself to a week of cold showers at least! They checked the water heater one last time and it turns out the pilot light was out and it just needed to be cleaned. Joe was very pleased with himself because he told me his first thought was the pilot light but no one bothered to check. He said he was going to enjoy this one chance in his life to gloat. Haha!
A couple days later a good friend sent me this passage.
It really changed my perspective on suffering. I had never really considered it a “gift” before. Many times I have felt annoyed or resentful about suffering but this passage made me think that maybe it could mean something more than physical pain and discomfort. When you’re in the moment it is not always easy to see suffering as a gift. In fact, most of the time I would like to return it or re-gift it to someone else!
That night I had a dream. I rarely remember my dreams but I was sitting around with my family and then someone hugged me close with these big strong arms and kissed my forehead. I had this incredible feeling of comfort and relief come over me from all the anger and stress I’d been feeling. It was one of those dreams that felt so real you’re not sure if it was a dream or really real. I didn’t see the person’s face who hugged me but I know it was either Joe or Jesus. It was like when I would be stressed and Joe would come home and hug me and all my worries would fade away because I knew he would take care of whatever was bothering me. I miss that. Joe physically can’t hug me anymore. That’s one of the really hard parts about ALS. I’m not a super touchy-feely person by any means (sorry Joe), but I do miss his hugs and I miss that feeling of having someone take care of me. I know this dream was a little gift because I woke up feeling so peaceful—like I had actually been hugged and given a gentle kiss. I know it was a reminder that I can give all my anxiety and worries to Jesus and He will take them all and make things better. Just like He sent my family to help me with the water heater and cars that day. I am always so worried about the future. But the feeling of peace and calm that I had from my dream made me realize that everything will be ok. I don’t know how, but I know that God’s plan is so much better than my little anxiety-filled one.
Trust, faith, and surrender. Those are my words for the year. Of course, it’s all easier said than done and many days I don’t want a hug—real or spiritual! But I know that on those days that I actually do need a hug, I will feel that comfort and calm if I surrender and trust and am actually willing to hug Jesus back!