I thought I would take this time today to remember some grace moments that have occurred in the last couple weeks as Brian has continued to slowly decline.
A couple of weeks ago, our boys were off school for Lincoln's birthday. Not PRESIDENT'S DAY which would have allowed for a nice three-day weekend, but LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY which falls on February 12- a THURSDAY. At the time, I was a tad annoyed by this, but we do live in Illinois, so I understood the emphasis on Lincoln. ANYWHO!!! As a result of the Thursday holiday, Brian and I had a lazy morning with the kids watching cartoons and hanging out in our PJ's. We had pancakes for breakfast for which we usually do not have enough time. Then, we went out to lunch just the FOUR of us for the first time in well over a month. We attended a movie - Coraline which I would rename - AWFUL-INE unless you are tripping acid while you watch. But, the kids said they liked it, so I guess that it all that matters, assuming they were not tripping acid at the time, naturally. We shared our popcorn and our sodas and I even splurged on a box of overpriced movie theater candy which I NEVER do. We had a great day. Had the kids been off Monday instead for President's Day, based on what happened on Sunday, we would not have been able to have this family day. It may have been our last true family day where we were able to leave the house together and make a day of it. I cherish the day - Coraline and all.
Secondly, the Friday before Brian had his drastic change, we went to a local bar in town to hear a friend of ours play in her band. Their playlist was all the type of songs that Brian and I love. They dedicated every Grateful Dead tune to Brian. While at the club, we came across several friends from our neighborhood that were out that evening as well to hear Jane's Cellar. Brian and I had hoped to sit in a booth, but at the time, we were placed at a table and made due. The table situation worked perfectly because all of our friends were able to pull up chairs all around at surrounding tables and join us. It was a great night and one that I will forever cherish watching Brian rock out to some Doors, Dead, Beatles, Alanis Morissette and many in between considering the next night we had to leave our dinner early due to Brian's condition.
Also, the weekend that Brian had all his problems was a weekend originally planned for a visit from an aunt and uncle. They chose to come the weekend prior for no particular reason which allowed my sister and parents to be here instead. Thank God for my sister who was quick on her feet getting Brian out the door and into the van when I was a blubbering mess. She also had the insight to suggest calling hospice when Brian began to decline at home. Additionally, she was logical enough to have me reschedule the delivery of the hospital bed from 3 am to the next available time the next day when the house was awake. Duh!! Lastly, with little sleep under her belt, she still rallied all the boys and took them to church in the morning to get them out of the confusing house. AND, because my parents and sister were here in lieu of my aunts and uncles, my mom simply stayed with us the entire week to ensure things ran smoothly. She beautifully and gracefully filled every gap that existed last week. I was so unaware of that until her absence this week reminded me. Having my family here during that time was a blessing I didn't grasp until just these past few days.
When we went to Alexander's for dinner the night Brian "freaked out" on us, we had specifically requested a reservation on the main level. The main level of this very old downtown warehouse-ish steakhouse is actually UP one level from parking, but is accessible via a ramp. You have to go in and out here via the main entrance. The manager immediately pulled us aside and explained that they had us at a table on the lower level. This was really not a problem because Brian was able to make it into the building just fine, so he could descend the flight of stairs to the lower level tables. The manager also assured us that when we were ready to leave, he would temporarily shut down the emergency exit alarm on a door nearby that lead to the main parking lot if need be. This turned out to be the largest blessing of the night. Brian was unable to leave the restaurant walking. My Dad drove to Alexander's with the wheelchair (which I forgot to mention for him to bring, THANKS MOM) and we were able to get Brian out the side door without parading him back through the main entrance. It was a quick and easy escape.
Kris, Adam, Brian, me and Mindi just before we left Alexander's Feb 14, 2009
I truly believe that finding grace moments in the midst of this horrific struggle is what allows me to remember that God is in control. He is working things according to His purpose even when it doesn't appear so.
I listened to a sermon once about Job. One of the things that stuck with me beyond anything else I have ever heard in my life was that even in the midst of a horrific struggle, there are spiritual developings happening parallel to us that we do not see and cannot possibly comprehend. I remind myself of that constantly. Remembering that God is God in the good and bad times is the truest test of faith. Satan wants nothing more than for me to think that God has abandoned me in the low times or that the I am responsible for my own high times because he knows that separate from God I am powerless. He will use whatever he can to get me to rely on myself. God knew what Job was going through and even allowed for it to happen to Job because He knew and wanted Satan to know that we as humans worship and trust in God because He is God - not because we have possessions or fame or success or health or prosperity.
I don't have God's perspective on what is going on in my life. I don't want it either as I am NOT capable of comprehending it. I can only honor Him by trusting Him despite my circumstances.