May I go on and on for a bit? Just indulge me. This summer is kicking my tail.
Let's start the Monday after Mother's Day in May-
Drive two hours to take D's grandma to a doctor's appointment. Find her in poor health and call the ambulance. Spend around 5 days in Norfolk with her in the hospital.
Return 3-4 days later when they dismiss her to the nursing home to check in and stay overnight.
On day number 3 or 4 in nursing home care, D's grandma continues to have health concerns and they admit her back to the hospital. Hospital staff do not feel that it is urgent, rather it is just for observation so we stay at home. Next evening, receive a late night phone call saying she is doing poorly. We leave our house around 11 p.m., arrive in Norfolk around 2, where D goes to the hospital and I take the kids to the hotel. Make end of life decisions, dismiss her to the nursing home for hospice, and wait. End up spending about a week total in Norfolk as we plan her funeral over Memorial Day weekend and also plan to sort through the house while D's brother is in town.
My dad begins feeling poorly about the time of Marie's funeral. Goes in to see doctor about ten days after the funeral, has multiple tests that reveal mass in his colon. Has mass removed and is determined to be cancer. Visit him in hospital while D coaches special all state high school soccer game. Dad is discharged and heads home but has problems with maintaining his body temperature and is admitted to the local hospital for observation while they monitor his fever. Eventually determined the fever is not infection related and returns home. The kids and I head west to provide some comedic relief and encouragement; D eventually joins us. Return home for a few days then head the 3 hours west to my family for the 4th. Actually a planned event as my cousin was visiting from India. Enjoy a the 4th with family and a rodeo plus take a mini vacation in Kearney. Dad continues to get better; he and Mom go to Colorado to see a natural healthcare specialist who can provide them with some alternative medical ideas to do while they wait to do chemo. Oncology appointment on July 18; port for chemo put in the 19th. Chemo scheduled for first week of August.
We head to Kansas for a mini vacation/meet up with some friends who adopted from Conleigh's orphanage. Again an actual planned event. Spend the night in Salina but while doing our mini vacation, my mom calls and says my dad is having heart issues. He ends up in Kearney where they put in a stint. We decided to drive the 3 hours home rather than the 3 1/2 hours to Kearney but will head there probably in the near future.
Add to all of this:
-my uncle (my dad's brother) had a horse roll over onto him and broke his foot pretty severely
-my brother in law moved from Boise to Norfolk and is looking for a job
-my father in law had blood clots in his lungs at the same time as D's grandma was first hospitalized
-my mom was scheduled to have hand surgery this summer due to pain in her hand but has been unable to do so because of all that has happened
-and on the same day as my dad's heart stuff, the high school kids who work for them were working on irrigation stuff and had a semi hit the pipe trailer they were hauling
I don't say all of that because I want people to feel sorry for me. (Although having someone commiserate with you often feels so nice!)
I just say it it to share the degree to which life has piled up on us. And the reality is there just aren't a lot of pretty words that make it all make sense or even make it feel better. We like to wrap our words up into neat little packages that just make it all alright. It's human nature and we've all done it. We've all felt like we've offered some trite sentiment to someone who was really in the thick of it and realized that our words were not wise or comforting or even all that thoughtful.
We want to be encouraging and spiritually uplifting so we say things like "God doesn't give us more than we can handle." (Um, reality check...God always gives us more than we can handle because otherwise we are simply attempting to do life on our own. It is all more than we can handle. Apart from God we are not wise, we are not strong, and we have no solutions.)
And so many people love the line "God has a reason for everything." Which is potentially true. To some degree. But awfully cold when you are the one who has to consider that God has given you cancer or a death or a divorce simply because His reason is so great. I guess it just leaves you stuck with the question of how a compassionate God who keeps our tears in a bottle would deliberately gift you a horrible gift simply so you could flesh out the reason behind the gift.
I suppose the flip side of that is the comment "This is not from God; only good things come from God." Again partially true. Every good and perfect thing does come from heaven. But our God is not the God of the prosperity gospel. People whom God loves suffer. All the time. And in our little corner of America, we often suffer a lot less than people who live in desperately poor places like the tent cities of Hait or the war torn countries of Africa. Does God love those people less because they have less? And really it's not even about material things. Why would a God who loves to give us good things withhold peace and food and even the simple gift of a sturdy shelter from so many people?
I suppose this is mostly about me seeking that nicely wrapped package, where I understand exactly why God does what He does and where I can articulate it clearly so that others see my life and glorify Him. But more than likely it's probably about hashing it out yet again, reminding myself of the things I have learned and heard.
Things that are more riddle like than absolute.
Things like "God's good is not my good." which requires sorting out how we define good in our lives.
And things like the voice of God saying "I love certain people more than you and I know exactly what is good for them even if that is painful for you."
But even those things sometimes seem a bit lacking. There are always the bits and pieces that don't fit, that leave loose ends, that leave me wondering. Often it feels like it's just about putting one foot in front of the other while being tired of all the junk life serves up.
And maybe that's one of the biggest lessons of the junk, that we can't sort it all out no matter how we try. There are no perfect answers, no wonderful words that we can tell ourselves or others that make it all make sense. The perfect package of words and Scripture just doesn't exist. I cannot get rid of the loose ends. I am only able to see in this dimension my hurt and frustration and tears that lay in the shadow of an almighty, all knowing God who somehow stoops down to cradle those things close to His heart, all while the active hand of God steps away from that shadow to interact with the real world. Don't get it at all....