This has been a summer for the books. And by that, I mean actual books.
As in, if I ever write another book, what I’ve been learning these past few months will permeate the pages in ways I can’t even imagine right now.
When the summer began, my mom was living at home with my dad. Now—following a bad accident, a few weeks in the hospital, a couple of surgeries and almost two months of rehab—she lives at a long-term care center about 10 minutes from my house. (See here for a bit more on all that.)
There’s much more to the story, of course, and I have a feeling it will take a long while to process it all. For now, though, here are a few lessons I’ve already gleaned from this season none of us were expecting.
• God’s peace is real.
Apart from that, I can’t explain the calmness I felt during some very intense situations this summer. By my mom’s bedside, in meeting rooms full of highly trained medical professionals, waiting for surgical teams to do their work, driving home after an exhausting day at the hospital—the peace that surpasses all understanding was guarding my heart and mind in a way I’ve never experienced before.
• God’s healing power is real.
The doctors said my mom might never walk again, that she might only eat regular food again in small doses—maybe even just for pleasure. Now, she can walk short distances with assistance, and she eats normally, without the feeding tube. Less than a month after she left the hospital, a physician’s assistant described her progress as “really remarkable healing.” My response (then and now): “There have been a lot of people praying for her.”
• You stop worrying about making the most of teachable moments when all of life becomes a teachable moment.
I don’t know about you, but as a mom, I always feel a certain amount of pressure to make sure everything is covered when it comes to spiritual guidance and teaching my children to look at life through the lens of the long view. I rarely achieve this goal, but I feel the urgency.
This summer, though? Not so much.
For the last several months, my girls have had front-row seats as I’ve struggled to figure out how to help when someone you love is in crisis. I haven’t always been the best example, but along the way, I think we’ve all learned some lessons about how to love, how to communicate, how to be patient and maybe even how to trust God.
• There’s comfort in order.
I didn’t always have the energy this summer to maintain my house like I usually do. But I did find a certain amount of satisfaction—perhaps even peace?—in things like an empty dish drainer, a made bed, a clean bathtub and cleared-off countertops. And who knew picking hedge apples up off your patio after a big wind storm or cleaning a dust-caked ceiling fan could be so rewarding?
• “How is your mom?” is not a question I can answer honestly in a few words.
This isn’t so much a lesson as it is a realization, one that has opened up a Pandora’s box of other questions—about myself, my mom, other people, where we now find ourselves—that I don’t want to think about right now. (Plus, I think some pondering is best done in a prayer journal, rather than in a blog post.)
• Love is a gift that grows as it’s given.
I’ve felt this paradox unfold in my own heart over the last several months. Even better, though, is watching it play out as my girls interact with their grandma—kindly, gently and without complaining. They’re pretty awesome, those two.
That’s a bit of what I learned this summer. How about you?
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