It started on Tuesday when Mom told me Dad wanted to go to the base to get his haircut on Wednesday. In that moment, I somehow thought I was entitled to more advance notice, forgetting that Wednesdays were supposed to be Mom and Dad’s day, or at least half the day, where I get to spend time with them, taking care of whatever they need and just be with them.
The other challenge was that Dad feels like he can still walk well with his walker. I believe with all my heart, in his head, he moves with a quick agility, ready to rise easily onto the curbs and walk briskly to the destination he longs to go. However, in the real world, his legs are weak and unstable and he is much slower now. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, just a reality that is hard for any, independent, proud, grown man to embrace.
Never-the-less, at 83, he does less and less exercise at home, so I had to be the “grown-up” and put my foot down. I told mom to tell him I would only take him if he went in the wheelchair. I drove to the house the next morning, building myself up for a fight that I was determined to win, only to turn the corner and see my sweet dad sitting quietly in his wheelchair, in the garage, right next to the car, patiently waiting for me to arrive. Right then is when the tears wanted to come, but I had to push them back because I wasn’t in the mood to make them stop.
As we waited patiently for Dad to move from the wheelchair to the car, Mom asked if I could also run by and turn in a new prescription. Then, on the way out, I could pick it up through the drive-through along with another refill. “Okay”. We pulled out of the drive-way in mom’s car and then Dad tells me, “Oh, mommy wants you to put gas in her car at the base.” When I looked at her gauge, it was 3/4 full, so I thought quietly in my mind, what any “intelligent” person would think, why does she want gas in the car?
After I dropped my dad off at the barber shop, I went over to the pharmacy, thinking I would return in 10 minutes or so. Inside my heart, I grumbled about all the last minute things I was asked to do and how I had to talk to my parents about planning ahead so I could plan the rest of my day accordingly...because that of course is what was important. As I walked through the parking lot, I heard so quietly in my spirit, Remember why I brought you here to Las Vegas. You are losing sight of why you are here. One day, you won’t have to bring your dad to the base anymore...he will be with Me.
I won't spend time trying to find the words to describe the emotions happening on the inside of me in that moment. It never ceases to amaze me how God could possibly love someone so selfish and prideful, yet He does, and forgives so completely when we ask.
HIS LOVE IS REAL! UNCONDITIONAL! UNFAILING! FORGIVING! HEALING! HIS LOVE IS POWERFUL! HIS LOVE IS TRUE!
One hour later, I rushed back to the barber shop and just as I suspected my dad and the lady who cuts his hair were worried, thinking I had been in an accident. I smiled and said I was so sorry, explaining that a lot of people were in the pharmacy. Daddy, with his newly, fresh haircut and another “field-trip” under his belt accomplished, was so happy and content. When we got home to the safety of what he knows, he said, “Little girl, I think that went really well! Don’t you think?” All I could do was smile realizing this was truly a treat for him. “Yes daddy, it did! You did such a great job and I’m so proud of you for going in the wheelchair and giving up the walker!”
I decided in the parking lot at the pharmacy, that starting now, things had to look different and that whatever it takes, in 2013 my daily schedule was going to put first things first. God has also called me to a ministry of walking with those who are hurting and I know He has given me the freedom to do that; but, I need to give my daily schedule back to God and live fully surrendered to His plans, so that in the rest of what I do, Mom and Dad are the priority in my heart and life, rather than additional tasks I need to do. Best vs. Good.
I later told my husband that it’s time to get back to the basics. Time to make my family the priority again, or, as he always says, it’s time to “focus on the family”. Mom and Dad are the only reason God moved us to Las Vegas five years ago. They are the ministry God has given me. Not everyone gets the chance to spend this kind of valuable time with their parents before they pass on from this life. Yes, 2013 MUST look different!
Perhaps my “to-do” list should be an “open” list so that God’s “to-dos” can be accomplished through me. I'm thinking His life in me is much more fulfilling.
LORD forgive me for rearranging my life to the way I think it should be and trying to live for You the way I think I ought to. Forgive me for the sense of entitlement I carry inside my heart and the pride that continues to plague me. I turn to You and ask that You continue to work in me so that Your great love can be seen through me. Specifically poured right into the lives of my mom, dad and the rest of my immediate family. Thank you for loving me as I am.