Wednesday, May 24, 2017

#20, May 24, 2015, Striding

This is the next in a series of excerpts from my journal, written during the last year of Dave's life.

 I’m starting to get a sense of what’s different. It’s not just getting old and it’s not just tending to an ever-weakening Dave with all the accompanying sadness. It’s making decisions, taking independent-feeling steps that, for the first time, do not lead from one man to another, not even from one person to another. I am not striving, but striding. Not wanting to have, but wanting to be. I feel, at least today, strong and stable—less cowed, less cornered. I think I’m learning now, nearer the end of my life, how to live it.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

#19, May 18, 2015, How Great Thou Art

This is the next in a series of excerpts from my journal, written during the last year of Dave's life.

This is what’s bothering me—I am not happy and don’t know how to be. Dave is dying—I saw it yesterday when he wasn’t strong enough to make himself some toast—and I am bound to him as he does so. There’s nothing to be done about this other than to do it for however long it takes. Nothing in this is happy—not the doing of it and not what comes at the end.

But there is something else in the middle of it—something that does not die and can make me happy. I am alive—we are alive—in Christ. 

As I write this, I see the sun as it brings its first full glow above an expectant horizon. The day’s turning is constant. God still upholds the same world He created and saved. I have messed up everybody and everything, but God holds it all fast within the grasp of the only sure hand there is. 

This is more than Good News, more than a purely spiritual saving. This is the fiber of life. It is breathing. It is smiling and crying. It is holding and being held. It is the very assurance I’ve been waiting for so desperately. This is the declaration of and confidence, absolute confidence, in a love that won’t fall short. Not ever. 

It is terrible, you know. But it has to be that way, because it is the only love that fully acknowledges the horrible shortcomings of the beloved—me. The cross knows what I am and loves anyway, and in the only way possible. How can I not be happy knowing that? What danger can any part of this living throw up in the face of it? This is why I am safe in Christ. 

You, sweet God, have defeated not only death, but every danger that threatens my soul. My body is already breaking down, but You are holding me up. Every smile, every pure laugh I have ever known has been in expectation of this one—the only one not leaning on intelligence or strength or circumstances of any kind, but on the magnificence of creation itself, and the plan, and provision ordained for men and women before it ever came to be. 

And it is all because You are great beyond comprehension, able beyond understanding, and loving every single moment. 

I don’t deserve it, but You don’t care.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

#18, May 16, 2015, What’s Left

This is the next of a series of excerpts from my journal, written during the last year of Dave's life.

I’ve been so tired. It’s not like I’m so busy, though. I am, but it doesn’t seem like that’s the reason. I’m just tired—a bone weariness that’s deeper, almost oppressive. It has nothing to do with work or sleep.

I’m not depressed, but it’s hard to be happy. It is possible, however, to be satisfied, to be comforted. What’s missing is the ability to be carefree.

So God is denying me the assurance of warning. In its place, He is saying that He and only He will control this and I have to trust Him.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

#17, May 14, 2015, No Alarm

This is the next in a series of excerpts from my journal, written during the last year of Dave's life.

 I learned something yesterday—something in a new way, anyhow.

That dream—the one about God warning me when something is wrong with Dave—it meant nothing. 

Yesterday, while I was in Madison at the spa and shopping, Dave went PT and ended up in the ER, and I had no inkling that anything was wrong. Granted, he only needed fluids again, but he had to manage on his own while I was off having fun.

So I get powerful feelings when nothing is wrong and none at all when something is. So God gives me a thousand gifts, but not intuition. I can’t depend on feelings or inklings.

What do I do with that? I’m not sure. It feels, in my circumstances, like a handicap. What can I do? Accommodate. Guess. Assume I won’t know and try to arrange things to keep us all out of danger, keep us both safe. 

It turned out to be nothing and Dave was fine, or as fine as he gets these days, but still... What does love demand of me?


Thursday, May 11, 2017

#16, May 11, 2015, What I Fear

This is the next in a series of excerpts from my journal, written during the last year of Dave's life.

Reading today about peace and the impossibility of finding it here on earth—hunger, illness, sin—and the list of what plagues us is a lot longer. Dreamed last night about Harriet, Beth’s grandmother, and woke feeling like she had died. It feels like a test of whether God will give me a sense of fear when Dave is in danger.

What I’m looking for is someone I know will look out for me—rescue me when I can’t help myself. I can only do so much. I need to know God is there—know in a quantifiable way—need to see Him acting. Otherwise, I am truly alone. I am more afraid of this than anything else.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

#15, May 10, 2015, Underwater

This is the next in the series of excerpts from my journal, written during the last year of Dave's life:

 Mothers’ Day. 

I was reminded this week for the first time in a long time of all the pain this day used to cause. It’s still there if I reach for it. An echo of it hangs on, but time and grace have brought healing. 

Grace. What the woman at the wine walk called Beth and I. Beauty and Grace. I’ve never been paid a finer compliment by a stranger. 

These days are so beautiful—nights still cool, but I can leave the windows open. 

Dave struggles, though. When days either bring the rain or the promise of it, he breathes as though he’s underwater—heavy and labored. As a result, he’s always tired. I should have expected this, but didn’t. Summer will be hard for him. He’ll have to stay in air conditioning all the time. So grateful we have it.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

#14, May 3, 2015, Open Windows

This is the next in a series of excerpts from my journal, written during the last year of Dave's life.

Slept late last night with open windows. This year’s first. Woke to a gentle breeze and birdsong. The chimes’ soft ringing. Have been waiting for this and it’s so beautiful
Dave is getting better, feeling a bit stronger. I don’t know how long it will last—it feels like a last gift and I’m going to try to enjoy it like one.

Went to the movies and early dinner with Bryan yesterday. Talking about short trips to Decorah and Davie’s. Also thinking that when the time comes, I will not be able to burn him, to cremate what is left of him. I just can’t.