Topsy Turvy

Mom and I crammed into the small doctor’s office. A wheelchair makes any room seem smaller. Mom waited patiently in the corner where the physician’s aid had set her. Rolling in and out of rooms has its share of challenges. A wheelchair quickly makes you realize how ill-equipped we are in our day-to-day life to accommodate the four-wheel monstrosity.

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The nurse came in to check Mom’s vitals. She greeted Mom first, with a friendly hello and a warm smile. She turned to me and nodded, “How do you do? Are you the caretaker?”

“No,” I replied. “I’m her son.”

The nurse smiled. “Then you’re her caretaker.” She and Mom both chuckled.

Caretaker?

Honestly, I really hadn’t contemplated my role in Mom’s recovery much. I’m her only son. She lives alone. She fell and virtually shattered her ankle and now needs someone to look after her while she heals. It hadn’t occurred to me to answer the question life asked any other way. It’s simply what you do.

My wife, Sweet T and I are just both grateful that we can pull this off. It’s not easy and certainly not without sacrifice. But it’s probably hardest on my Mom who can’t get around on her own and do basic things that she’s accustomed to doing. If you know my Mom, she’s a social butterfly. Particularly since my Dad died. She took care of Dad for the last five years of his life after he suffered a massive brain hemorrhage brought on by a stroke. It limited her ability to live a “normal” life. She’s been a bright spot in the lives of others since God called Dad home.

top·sy-tur·vy

adv.

1. With the top downward and the bottom up; upside-down.
2. In or into a state of utter disorder or confusion: “turning our ordered life topsy-turvy” (Anne Tyler).
adj.top·sy-tur·vi·er, top·sy-tur·vi·est
1. Turned or positioned upside down; inverted.
2. Confused or disordered.
n. pl.top·sy-tur·vies
The quality or condition of being topsy-turvy.  
topsy-turvy. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Retrieved August 11 2017 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/topsy-turvy

You don’t realize until you are faced with taking care of another human being just how many things you take for granted. You certainly can’t anticipate the drastic change to your routine that it brings. Add a little distance between you and your home base and you discover new challenges. It takes commitment and a strong relationship with your spouse. It helps having your in-laws living next door.  And it demands more than you alone can give. It takes a whole village of friends and church family…including a sea of doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers. Hopefully, when it happens–and odds are it will—you’re prayed up, because you’re going to draw heavily on your spiritual bank account.

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Mom continues making progress every day since her fall three weeks ago. We’ve been thankful for friends and church family who have stopped by to see her, write cards, and give her a phone call. Terri’s folks have been tremendous in helping cover the home front. Technology helps close the gap between here and home, which is something Terri and I are both thankful for as well. In the old days, we would have had to make a fire and send smoke signals.

On top of it all, we had to say goodbye to our beloved 16-year old healer, Danny, as he crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Although we knew his time on Earth was drawing to a close, it is still deeply painful. Like I’ve said before–life is downright hard sometimes. But, that’s what God is for.

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Leaning on the Lord in difficult times, depending on God to give us strength, to heal our hurts and our wounds–these are the moments that we can draw closer to Him Who Made Us. Apart from faith, I couldn’t do it.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Philippians 4:19 The Message

Whitney Houston, 1998  “God Will Take Care of You”

Finding Hope In A World of I Don’t Care

The other day while Sweet T and I were sharing the love of Jesus down at the Center of Hope women’s shelter, we both had the opportunity to visit with a homeless family that we’d met there on a previous trip Downtown. 

Pamela, the 71 year old family matriarch, her adult daughter Heather, and Pamela’s grandson Nathanael have been homeless several months now since they lost their apartment. After a number of life events happened causing them to get behind on the rent, they found themselves drowning from the sheer financial weight of trying to keep a roof over their head. 

You’d never know from his big grin or joyful laugh that Nathanael suffers from cerebral palsy and spends most of his time confined to a wheelchair. Nathanael is filled with tremendous joy; a gift he undoubtedly gets from his mother and grandmother. 

Yes, their faces reflect the troubles they face but their countenance exudes confidence that comes from an unflinching faith, even amidst the hardships they face. They are a tight knit family of three, determined to see each other through this rough patch. 

Nathaniel’s father isn’t presently in the picture, too busy grappling demons of his own. 

What follows below is a poem Pamela shared with us and that she’s given me her permission to share with you. 

Living on the streets, Pamela sees a lot of things that give her pause and cause her to contemplate the world that surrounds her. She meditates on big things, recording her ruminations on any scrap paper she can rustle up. 

This is not the first difficult time she’s endured. She is determined to persevere and share her faith with a lost and fallen world in need of a Savior. “Trust in Jesus,” Pamela would readily tell you. “The Lord won’t never let you down.”

Here is her poem “Hope in a World of I Don’t Care”, shared with her permission and encouragement.

                               *****

Is there any hope out there in a world of I don’t care?

Is there any hope out there when people are too busy going from here to there?

Is there any hope out there where all kinds of violence occurs everyday and everywhere?

Is there any hope out there when social media and cyber-bullying is so rampant in our schools all around the world?

Is there any hope out there when and where hatred and racism are more prevalent today than yesterday?

Is there any hope out there where there are too many homeless people in the streets who don’t have a place to go in our world?

Is there any hope out there when the government is cutting programs, jobs, and needed funding to function in the U.S.?

Is there any hope out there where neighbors don’t get to know each other and help each other out when needed?

Is there any hope out there in a world of I don’t care?

Yes, there is hope and all you have to do is look to Heaven and ask God to take care of everything you are thinking of from this poem.

I wrote this poem from my heart and my thoughts.

Pamela Park 6/25/2017

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9 ESV