Things have been challenging lately. Since the Dafter fell ill three and a half years ago I have become pretty used to being philosophical, looking at the bigger picture, looking for the good. But recently I have just felt so worn out! In October, I was so exhausted that we had planned for me to take a short break the first week of November. We all know that my own well-being is critical to our family’s functioning, and the Dafter’s recovery. But a few days before I was due to take my autumn holiday, I received the news that my Dad had died, and I was headed in the other direction.
I returned the night before Michael went on the first of a series of work trips; then he fell very ill and I had two people to look after, though the Dafter was doing pretty well in the weeks before Christmas. The holidays were busier than usual because for the first time in years she was able to get out and about. And then her relapse came, and since the beginning of January my life has been almost completely tied to her needs. I have also, since November, been working very hard to deal with my father’s estate, and it is still far from resolved. And Michael has continued to travel every few weeks for work.
And yet, although I have lost some sleep worrying about how things will work out, I have also had the distinct feeling that I am being looked after. Do you see the angels perched up on the building, looking down at us?
The Dafter has been pretty unwell, again. But not so unwell as a year ago. On bad days, she can be crying with pain, but that doesn’t happen every day. On bad days, she can still move about the house. About half the time she manages a bit of school, so for every day I have a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C, depending on how things go. And I know the most important thing is that I actually be FINE with whatever happens, for her sake. Because she is doing all she can. On the days she’s able to go to school for a few hours, she is still feeling dizzy, exhausted, foggy, unwell.
At the end of January I had to have some medical tests at the hospital. It wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had, but I discovered another Glaswegian Victorian park, and it was beautiful in the snow:
I’ve since learned that all is well, and no more Procedures are needed. Phew!!!
We all have moments when we feel we can’t take any more, and when we feel alone and perhaps even abandoned by God (if we believe in God). This stained-glass window depicts Jesus in the garden of Gesthemane, his disciples asleep while he faces what he knows lies ahead.
These moments of feeling forsaken are part of human life, moments which we all wish we could escape. But, assuming we don’t crumble (it is a possibility), these times are what make us value the good in life.
For quite some time I have been praying for a worrying situation where I felt a friend was in danger. The situation has now been resolved, to my great relief. My friend said to me, “Someone was watching over me.” “Someone was,” I replied. It’s not that I necessarily believe that my prayers did the trick. That would be presumptuous and anyway my own understanding is pathetically small compared to the workings of the universe. But it was a great comfort to me that things turned out well, in more ways than one.
The hardest thing, for me, is to trust — really trust — all will work out well, and along with that, to be grateful for all that has healed and been good, and is good. I know I’m not alone in this weakness; I’m human, after all. I would quite like rock-solid assurances that the Dafter will completely recover, that she will manage not to melt down with stress about her schoolwork, that my Dad’s estate will be resolved without ongoing problems or another trip across, etc. etc. I would quite like it if God would provide me a clear plan of the weeks and months ahead, if possible with ideas for meals as well, so I know where I stand.
But that’s not how life works, nor would I really, in my heart, want it to be. How boring life would be if I really did know what lay ahead, and there was no sense of discovery or possibility. Hope can only exist in a world of uncertainty.
Tilly came to us nine years ago. She had been a stray and was skinny and very untrusting. She didn’t purr for the first year and a half of being with us, though eventually with my encouragement she learned how. She didn’t come on a lap for at least the first year — too frightened to trust. But look at her now!
Because I am still badly in need of rest, we’ve arranged that I’m going to go to the Isle of Harris for a four-night getaway next month, as I did last year. I’m so grateful to my family for considering my needs. I know there are many carers out there whose worries and responsibilities make my own life look like a vacation in the Bahamas.
So I am very grateful to feel that God is at work in our lives, and that we are all being cared for. I am trying to learn from Tilly, and just trust and be grateful.