“We’re overcome with deep sadness to be at this point.”
That was my friend’s response to the hard place she and her husband had found themselves.
Her beloved mother had been in and out of institutions because of mental illness and now, they had to make a hard, soul-tearing decision about her guardianship.
For years, they rallied, they loved, they emptied their savings for the best treatment centers, and they fought, trusted, and never gave up hope. And, now they felt like they were giving up her mom to an uncertain future.
I’ll get right to it. My husband, Phil, has always been a great guy, but there was one big issue with his greatness. He was perfectly capable of dropping his dirty clothes in the hamper, which has always been placed conveniently in our closet. But did he ever do this simple thing that he was perfectly capable of doing? Nope. Most of the time, he dropped his dirty clothes right in front of the clothes hamper. Right in front.
At first, I tried to handle it with humor. I conducted a dirty clothes protocol seminar in our closet.
I invited him into the closet with me, where I used exaggerated gestures while standing varying distances from the hamper, all the while counting out loud how many seconds it took me to toss laundry into the basket rather than in front of it. Of course, I also pointed out that even though I cannot see, I rarely missed.
It’s so easy to get discouraged, isn’t it? Life hits us hard and trials last too long and we just get worn out trying to stand firm in faith. Or, sometimes we are in the thick of doing good, serving God and it just seems like progress is slow, our confidence is low and discouragement is high.
I’ve felt discouraged for both reasons lately. I’ve felt overwhelmed and under-qualified to rise to the demands of ministry. I’ve fallen into a confidence crisis and just plain felt defeated. And, at the same time, my sweet Dad has been in the hospital, fighting pain and infection. My mom is worn out caring for him and instead of things getting better, they just seem to get worse. As soon as we see some progress, the next day, his fever spikes and our hope deflates. It is just downright discouraging.
“Are you there? Can you hear me?! Can you hear me now?” How many times have you held your phone to your ear and asked — okay, shouted, “Can you hear me?” Then, you shift positions; you move to a window, put the phone up to the other ear, speak even louder, “Can you hear me now?”
If you’re like me, you’ve done that too many times to count! In fact, so many of us have had this happen that Verizon Wireless featured an actor uttering those very words over and over in their famous cell phone commercials. Remember that?
A few days ago, I was sitting across from Kim, the most amazing nail tech, who has done my nails for the past ten years. And, she gasps, “What is that on your arm? I’ve never seen it before. You need to get that looked at!”
I had no idea what she was talking about so I asked her.
“A mole,” she said, “it’s just come up in the last two weeks because I know I have never seen it before.”
She, then, took my free hand and dragged my finger across the top of the tiny bumpy mass.