Lessons From Dementia
My 90-year old mom is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and while she has good days, she has some moments in which she doesn’t know where she is, isn’t exactly sure what is going on around her, and leans heavily on me for support – mentally, physically, and spiritually.
The disease is always in a progressively downward motion, and we have had to move her to the memory care unit of the assisted living facility where she has been living. It is a move she has protested and argued against in her more coherent moments. We go over and over and over the reasons for the move, but it has been a tough decision for her to process. Lately I’ve heard her talking aloud to herself and this is what she says: “I don’t like where I’m going, and I’m not even sure WHY I’m here – why do I have to go to this place? I liked where I was. But I know Kay loves me and would never do anything to harm me; she always has my best interest at heart – so I’ll trust her decisions for me.”
This morning those words rocked me as the spiritual parallels stared me in the face. How many times in my life – particularly in the last year – have I questioned the path God is taking me on? Frequently I don’t like the new path – it isn’t familiar, it isn’t as comfortable as the road I was on before, and to be honest, I complain loudly about it. I want to stay where I was – I want life to be what I’m used to. But after my griping and moaning and some intense conversations with Him, I settle down – like a weaned child on its mother’s lap – and I say exactly what my mom says about the changes in her life: “I know God loves me and would never do anything to harm me; He always has my best interest at heart – so I’ll trust His decisions for me.”
God, may I respond with trust more quickly tomorrow than I did today. Forgive me for doubting Your love; I always get myself worked up, become overly-anxious, and fearful when I forget that You are “rich in love” for me. I choose to allow You to still and hush my soul so I can rest quietly and peacefully in Your embrace.
Psalm 145:9 (NIV) “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all He has made.”
Psalm 131:2 (NAB) “Rather, I have stilled my soul, hushed it like a weaned child. Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap, so is my soul within me.”