Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving is now over. . . my mind wonders how the homeless dinner went at church. It's so very hard to want to be "everywhere" and experience "everything" and your world consists of 2800 Rockford Lane. I can only imagine the frustration of being "shut-in" and not able to get out any more at all. I know that one day, Steve will be healed and our life will take on some semblance of normality. But, I know of so many people who cannot get out anymore. And, I think of thier spouses that are taking care of them. We call them on the telephone or visit them for 15-20 minutes. I'm not sure that is enough. There is something that goes on in my "shut-in" mind that makes me unsettled, or a little depressed. I cannot be doing what I always was able to do - even as the caregiver. I don't feel productive. I also get frustrated that I want to do things and volunteer to do them, then I am not able to follow through with the task because of the great demands at home, or feelings of being completely overwhelmed.

I know that God uses every experience to "grow" us into more fully developed followers of Jesus Christ. I pray that my compassion has increased for all the people who are confined to their home - and thier caregivers as well. Isn't it funny - you can hear things a thousand times, but until you actually experience it, you never fully understand. Our shut-ins need us. . . I will ponder how to "care" for these friends. Perhaps there is a new ministry for me through this experience.

We went to Steve's parents in South Bend Indiana for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a quiet, small affair - which was what we both needed. Today, however, Steve has a "cough" - for all of you who have had any kind of surgery, you know that "coughing" is not a pleasant thing. He also had a fever last night, so I am keeping him home. Our son and his family are coming for dinner tonight. That will be nice. Blessings on your day today.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas Shopping

Steve says that it is rather hard to wake up to a morning without having any purpose for that day other than sit, eat and sleep. I wanted to run to the mall in Indianapolis to get a couple of things to complete my Christmas shopping, so Steve asked to go with me. Steve started with gusto and lots of excitement as he got out of the car, walked in the front entrance to the Castleton Mall - walked into two stores for a quick purchase, then he started slumping over, then asked for a couple of pain pills, then about 10 minutes into our shopping experience, he begged to go to the car.

Since he was so tired, I took him to PF Chang's for a sit-down lunch. He had a hard time keeping his eyes open, but did enjoy sharing a meal with me. He said that he was feeling better after eating a little, so we walked into the Fashion Square mall. The hostess at Williams and Sonoma offered Steve an expresso. He said that he didn't drink coffee -whereas she said, well, you should, you sure are dragging! Of course I cut my Christmas shopping to take Steve home. As I turned the car toward Kokomo Steve begged to go to our son's house so he could lay down on the couch for a little bit before the long ride home. . . well, the "little bit" ended up being a 5 hour nap.

Today Steve was wiped out. He has been depressed that he is not bouncing back as fast as he would like. I keep telling him that it has only been 3 weeks since surgery, but he thinks that he should be doing better by now. December 5th is still the "Magic" date that he thinks he will be back in the saddle again - - today, he questioned that date for the first time.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Life certainly is picking up pace for us - at least it did this weekend. Jayna's family came to Kokomo for Thanksgiving dinner. Steve did pretty well holding up through all that activity. We also watched the grandchildren on Saturday while our son and his wife went to the Notre Dame football game in South Bend IN. (Now, the grandkids wore Steve out more than the Thanksgiving dinner.) Jayna spent about 30+ hours working on the animated light show that Grace UMC will be debuting this next Saturday. AND... Steve's parents spent the night lastnight (Saturday) to spend some time with him on their way home from Branson Missouri.

We were hoping that Steve would be able to come to church today for the first time, but after such a busy day on Saturday, he was way to exhausted. I wanted to worship with Steve today so we "watched" church on the television. As it is our "pastoral" custom, we ususally participate in worship with our congregation and "watching" it just didn't "do it" for us. I am so thankful for a church body that loves the Lord and joins with our spirits to worship and participate together in adoration of our Lord. Participatory worship is a very valuable, precious, joyous thing. I sat there watching the television this morning thinking about what I would be doing if I were in church. . . . I would be processing with the choir - singing out without using my hymnal because the hymn is so familiar. I would catch the eye of 3-4 special people and sneak a little wave or wink as I pass them. Then I would look up in the balcony and smile at the 2-3 people that ususally catch my eye and smile back. I could hear Larry Newburgs beautiful pastoral prayer and smile as Phyllis Jean Smith came to kneel at the altar on behalf of her congregation. I could hear Pastor Chris talk about being thankful (I'm sure Pastor Chris' sermon was excellent for he is a very good speaker). Then, after church I would give (and get) lots of hugs and hear what is going on in the lives of our friends.

That didn't happen for us today by "watching" television. No one winked or smiled at me - I heard a pastoral prayer, but it wasn't delivered from my very own Larry Newburg - I didn't see anyone come to the altar - and the sermon this morning was "pre-recorded". I heard great music, but I really missed smiling at Barb Hobbs (our organist) after she knocked the offertory out of the ballpark. "Watching" worship, I missed all of the love, the joy, the comraderie, and the closeness that I feel when we come together and look into each others eyes to spur each other on for the week to come.

So, as Thanksgiving comes upon us and I was told that Pastor Chris asked us to tell someone in the church what they are thankful for - I am thankful for real, alive, warm, participatory worship with my friends. I am thankful for their smiles, their hugs, their support, their cards, they prayers, their love. Worship, now that is a real gift. Thank you, Lord.