Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6
One thing I have learned in caring for my elderly mom (and dad when he was alive) is that each new day cannot be planned. I can try to make plans and have everything set in motion to get done what I want to get done. But the elderly, or anyone who deals with people in ill health, knows that things can change on a dime and your world can stop while a new and stressful situation presents itself. Any control I thought I had gets removed instantly on many days.
I have wonderful caregivers who help me care for my mom so I can still work part-time. Mom needs someone with her during all waking hours. She cannot do anything by herself and does not remember that she cannot do anything by herself. During waking hours either myself or a caregiver is with her.
This morning I was set to go to a Diocesan meeting and my usual caregiver called out, please pray for her, she was having health issues. Then the replacement came and within an hour she got a call to come get her daughter at school. It was apparent to me that God wanted me home to care for mom today. This happens on a semi-frequent basis.
People often comment to me that they are so sorry or that perhaps next year will be better. They tell me I need a break from it all. I appreciate the kindness of others and their care for me. But I have to say, in the middle of this suffering, that I am joyful. I do not (at least not today) find myself getting angry that my plans have been rearranged. I see that God wants me where He wants me in the here and now. I don’t think I have to wait until next year for things to be better. I can be grateful right now, even if the circumstances are hard. There is nothing better than God who is in the middle of this with me right now.
In all this time I spend at home sitting with mom, I have pondered a lot of things. I came to the conclusion that one of the things that makes us so unhappy is judgement. When I have to cancel, I often worry what people will think of me. I often judge myself harshly for not be able to “do it all.” I know when my caregivers call out they worry that I will be upset, as if I would be upset about myself when a suffering happens to them. But this is the world we live in, a world where you are judged on worthiness by things that are often out of your control.
It occurred to me that God’s judgment of Adam and Eve came not after they ate the fruit, but after they pronounced judgment on someone else for the actions they themselves took. They judged someone else for their own sin. Other people can influence us to do something bad. But ultimately we make a choice. Conversely, sometimes we think something we choose will be perceived as bad by others and sometimes it is perceived badly, which can become a cause of our anxiety. The only thing that should cause anxiety is unconfessed sin. We should be anxious about confessing, but if we have not sinned, we need not worry about the judgment of others. And lastly, we often judge people based on things out of their control that happened to them. Instead of wanting people to be blessed we judge them thinking what must they have done?
I have taken to praying that my will works according to the light of Christ’s judgment – the perfect judgment. He knows all that we are going through. The world does not need my harshness. It already had enough of it.
I had a catechist the other day tell a story about his son hiding in his kitchen cabinet. When his small son heard him come in the kitchen his son popped open the kitchen cabinet and invited his dad inside with him. The dad lamented that he was too big to fit, though he wanted to be with his child. This dad said it made him think though, that’s exactly what Christ did do. The Alpha and the Omega, the King of the Universe, got inside the human body to be with His children, taking on all of our limitations. It’s overwhelming to think about that. Especially now as we are in the season of the infant God.
And in this human body, he took on our sin, and our judgment. My friend Ashley even pointed out to me that the weight of this cross He took on even caused Him to fall 3 times. But it didn’t keep Him down. He stayed on the road to purify us. He got up and kept going and He even got help. Would that we do the same. If you want to get up, look up out of the darkness, resurrection is on the horizon.
So I was reading Ephesians this morning and the verse above, it covers our past, our present, and our future. God is in all of it.
He chose you.
He has adopted you.
He presents you holy and blameless.
The line that follows says this;
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us.
Do you see that? Right here, right now, we can have His forgiveness. Right here, right now, He lavishes his grace on us. In the middle of this broken and suffering world, he lavishes his grace upon us, if only we’re open to receiving it. Our suffering doesn’t stop His grace, our love in the middle of the suffering, enables Him to increase His grace within us.
The cauldron of love and The cauldron of suffering are inexorably linked, the tentacles of on entwining within the tentacles of the other. At the very highest summit of their expression they are a link to the inner fire of God’s love. That is one of the ramifications of Christ telling us that we must take up our cross in order to be able to follow him. It is a great gift of Grace to not only know this but to live this with equity and peace.
This is so beautiful. I had never thought about how much we think about others opinions (sometime unconsciously). God’s opinion is all that really matters and if we constantly look to Him before we act/react, how much good we could do.
What a blessing that you can give back to your mom in her final years. May God continue to bless and strengthen you.
Thank you. Have a Blessed Christmas!