Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I nervously peeked through her slightly-open door.


Well, here goes.  I took a deep breath and walked into her room.

I putzed around for a few moments.  She needed help pouring water into her cup, so I did that for her.  Then handed her the glass to take a drink.  Pretty soon there was nothing left to distract me from doing what I came to do without creating an even more awkward presence.  So I sat.

Is it ok if I talk to you for a few minutes?

She nodded.


...I was thinking about you yesterday...and...I feel like God wants me to ask you this...I know you've had a lot to think about lately with everything...

She muttered her agreement.

...and...um...are you confident with where you're going when you die?

She didn't miss much of a beat.  Told me she's ready to go, but doesn't understand why she has to go through all this.  Started to recap her experience over the past several weeks, and then an aide entered the room to take her into the bathroom.  At some point she had pushed her call light.  If it was before or after I showed up, I have no idea.  For all I know, she pushed it as soon as I started stammering around so someone would come relieve her of the situation.

So she and the aide headed to the bathroom.  And I left.

I don't know what I was expecting.  I couldn't help thinking how cool it would be if I could've left her room celebrating a new conversion to Christ.  Or at least having a long conversation about heaven and what it's going to be like.

I can't say I was prepared for the brief two and a half minutes that had caused my tummy to ache over for the past eighteen hours.  Or for the fatigue of waking up early to see her before work.  Or for the crazy whirlwind day that followed.

Yesterday kicked my butt.

I don't think I regret doing it.  I'm mostly sure it's what God was asking me to do.  I can't see any immediate benefit from the situation.  No one was saved who wasn't already reportedly saved.  Friends prayed with me the night before, and I have no exciting answered prayers to share with them and rejoice over.  I was stretched and stepped out in faith, and I'm pretty sure next time isn't going to be any easier.  I have no solid conclusions to come to, other than I did it and now it's over.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give 
the reason for the hope that you have.  
I Peter 3:15

Sunday, January 9, 2011

She sits alone in the nursing home these days, too weak and sick to go home to her husband.  They keep trying to make her my patient, but I can't.  I won't.  She won't, either.  Right now, therapy isn't a priority.

They tried chemo.  But her heart was too weak to handle it.  Now there's nothing they can do.  Her heart will probably give out before the cancer gets to her.  "They're leaving me to die," she will say to anyone who listens.  "There's nothing more they can do."  And her eyes fill with the fear and sadness of not yet being ready to embrace the end.

Today in Sunday School we read and talk about why we call ourselves Christians and won't share our faith.  And it convicts me.  More people than not are headed straight to hell.  And I do little to nothing to try to change their course.  Why not?  I believe hell exists, and I know it's more terrible and awful and eternal than my mind can grasp.  So what's my problem that I keep my mouth shut and don't share the great news of Jesus with others?

This isn't the first time I've written about this subject.  Exactly a year ago I faced a similar situation with a similar patient.

And now I've returned to this place yet again.

All during class I thought of this woman.  All through church and lunch and my nap she was on my mind.

She's dying.  And she knows it.

Her heart could fail any day.  She could be gone before I get to work tomorrow.

Maybe she's ready; maybe she's not.  Her eyes tell me she doesn't know the peace of heaven.

I should tell her.  Because I know.  He offered it to me, and He offers it to her.  Someone needs to tell her.

Pray for her.

Pray for me.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Losing Control

I left the nursing home this morning after another demanding and frustrating morning.  As I started my twenty minute commute to my next destination, a friend's invitation surfaced in my mind:  Instead of asking Him, 'What should I do with my day?', ask 'What do You want me to do with Your day?  How do you want me to do Your job today?'  Because it's His anyway...

Sensing a need to change my attitude and crabbiness, I thought I'd give it a try.

God, how do you want me to do Y...Yo...Yooouuu...r...

I couldn't do it.  I couldn't bring myself to call my job His.

It's my job.

I may not like it much of the time, and I may constantly complain about it and dream of greener pastures...

But it's mine.

If I call it His (as though He didn't create it and give it to me in the first place), am I going to be stuck doing it forever?  Am I doomed with no way out?

Will He make me do something I don't want to do?  Something even worse than poop and puke?

What will I have left?  I won't have any control...

And I think that's supposed to be the point.  I'm not supposed to have anything left; I'm supposed to give it all to Him.  All of me.  I'm not supposed to have control (as if I did anyway); I'm supposed to trust and lean on Him.

I wish I could say that realization made everything better and I fixed it all immediately.

But I didn't.  In fact, on the way home I did the exact same thing.

God, what do you want me to do with Y...Yo...Yooouu...r... my evening?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Non-Resolutions

It's the first day of a new year, and this is the post where I'm supposed to write about my resolutions for the year, what 2010 meant to me, what my hopes and dreams are for the next twelve months...but I can't say I'm really into all that.  At least not at this moment in time.

But I do like writing today's date:  1/1/11.

That's only the second time today I've had reason to do that.



I've long since given up on making New Year's resolutions.  I find them to be a little silly.  However, I do have two sort of looming clouds over my head right now, and I'm hoping to do something with/about them in the days and months to come.

This first one actually tops everyone's resolution charts:  I need to lose weight.  Again.  And it just so happens that I'm going to tackle that at the start of a new year.  Not because it's a resolution.  More because once Thanksgiving arrived, there was really no point in even trying to diet until all the holidays were over.  So today I started mapping out my plan, and having to face this reality has been a bit discouraging in many ways.  But I'm glad to be doing something about it, because that means things are only going to get better from here.


I've made it a long-term process.  I've dieted many times in the past, and I like to shed many pounds in as few weeks as possible.  The problem I have, however, is keeping it off.  So this time I'm going to practice patience and take a little more time finding my skinny jeans.  I'm hoping that if I take a little longer to lose the weight, my body will adjust better and not feel the need to hoard away every single calorie once the diet is over.  That...and making a better effort at lasting lifestyle changes.  My goal:  lose forty pounds in the next eight months.  Believe me, I have plenty more than that I could get rid of.  But I think this is quite reasonable.  And now that I've broadcast it to the whole world, maybe that extra accountability will help.

The other thing hounding me stemmed from a conversation I had with a friend last week.  She challenged me to see what direction God might be leading me in life by paying attention to the things that "ring my bell."  In other words, figure out what things really strike a cord in my heart and mind, what things get me fired up and excited and passionate.  I've been trying to ponder this to see where it goes.

Problem is, it took me all of ten minutes to reach a final vision, and now I'm having a hard time backing up and figuring out if I did that on my own, or if God did it in me.  I know a small handful of things that I feel passionately about.  (And by passionate, I mean it in the truest sense of the word; not the casual "I have a passion for that" that seems to be thrown around a lot these days.)  So I took these few things and started putting pieces together and wound up with a grand design.

I'm not sure what to do with it now.  It's huge, more than I'll ever be able to accomplish by my own energy or money or power or resolve.  So for now, I'm just waiting.  And learning.  Because I need to be prepared.  And I'm asking God to open my mind enough to allow me to start over and think things through again.  Because sometimes I get my ideas confused with His.  And I really don't need to be wasting time with stuff that will only end up distracting me from the real picture He's trying to show me.

Anyway, I wait and wonder.  I want answers now.  I want to know for sure right now.  If nothing else, I just want to know that I'm on the right track.  But in my immediate-do-it-right-this-second lifestyle, I recognize that God doesn't work on that timetable.  I'm not very good with working at His pace.  But I'd like to think I'm trying.  So we'll see what happens.


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