It’s pretty clear to me, that during this time at home here, helping my mom recover from her stroke, God is wasting no time at all, teaching me things.
And not just any “things…” but real, important, messy things.
Things that should come with an owners manual or an instruction guide.
In other words, things you could find at Ikea.
New York City, if there’s anything that characterizes the Big Apple, it’s the instantaneousness of life in the rat race. You want a sandwich delivered at 2am? It’ll be there in 20 minutes. Need a ride? You’ve got an Uber driver 1 minute away. Everything is efficient. And everything happened 2 minutes ago.
And it’s a good thing, but also a bad thing. Or rather, a bad thing to get used to. And one of the big lessons I’m learning here, is a practice in patience…
I got angry at my mom today.
I lost my patience. Huffed off. Said some things that I wish I could take back.
Adjusting to this new “normal” has obviously had its challenges. Memory loss and word recall issues are tricky to navigate, especially for loved ones.
Aside from the obvious, it presents a weariness of spirit that, admittedly, I allowed to get the best of me.
And sitting across from my beautiful mother tonight at the dinner table, wracked with guilt from getting upset with her, God stepped in, and removed a scale from my eye. And moved in my heart a compassion that broke me down in shoulder-shuddering sobs.
My mom didn’t ask for this. She didn’t ask to have a stroke during the prime of her life, with two grandchildren, big plans for her own ministry, and a bucket list of travel destinations, two CVS-receipts long.
And now, she’s unable to fully express the thoughts she’s having in her mind, and can’t remember things on command. Things we so take for granted. Things that I can’t imagine not being able to do.
It’s hard enough to watch a loved one have to suffer through that. But to actually be going through it yourself?
I was sitting there at dinner, looking at my lifeblood, my best friend, my soul sister – and I just thought to myself, Gosh, what a brave woman. If I were enduring that, I would be so scared. So angry. Confused. Frustrated. Discouraged. Annoyed. Anxious. Unsure. Restless. Abandoned by God.
The trial she’s living with — that she didn’t ask for — she literally woke up to.
She woke up and everything was different. Scary different.
And not for a second has she shown an ounce of fear.
She is so courageous. So strong. So valiant.
That is the reality she is living with. How dare I not be patient with this incredible woman who is literally fighting to regain her life?
How could I have lost my temper with her today?
My mother hugged me at dinner tonight in the warm embrace I have always known. She held me as I sobbed into her shoulder, accepting my apology and thanking me for acknowledging the hellish nightmare that is her reality. That she cannot just *fix* in a snap.
Tonight, thinking back…I’m being struck by one thing:
“Love is patient.”
Why is it, that in THE MOST recited wedding verse, and the most famous passage on love, that patience — patience! of all things! — is first!?
I mean, *bam.* Right there. You hear that slapping sound? Yeah, that’s just God smacking me across the face.
Love is patient.
Practicing patience has so been on my heart tonight. And it got me thinking…why let the buck stop with my mom? Shouldn’t I be treating everyone with that same patience?
Because the fact is, everybody is dealing with some sort of unseen burden. Every. single. person. has something weighing on them. Maybe it’s not the devastating aftermath of a stroke, but there are countless other sources of suffering that we should be moved to show compassion and understanding for.
That’s been made so clear to me tonight.
To be patient is to love. They are one and the same.
And if we continue on in that hackneyed passage we find the last little love letter from God….
Love never fails.
And there in lies the hope 🙂
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