Pardon me while I wax nostalgic…

June 16, 2014 | My Jottings

Sometimes I step back and take a look at the way things are, the way I am, the things that are happening to my husband, and I don’t recognize us. We had a couple of days recently that were so grim and ugly, I kept asking the Lord, what happened? how did I get like this? what in the world is going on here? and other possibly-not-productive questions.

I hesitate to come to this blog and write about negative things, but I’ve never tried to pretend that I have it all together here so I guess I won’t start now. I want to make my husband Michael feel like caring for him is the biggest blessing in my life. And deep down, I know there are hidden blessings to all difficult things the Lord allows which we entrust to Him. But the blessings in this case are hidden deeply. Buried down toward the core of the earth, I think. I’ve had a hard time finding them sometimes, even though I know they’re there. I feel tired, and old, and selfish.

Our youngest daughter Sara was looking through an old scrapbook over the weekend and when she was done I decided to page through as well. I came across this picture and stared at it for a while.

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In case you don’t recognize her, I almost didn’t either. It’s me, almost exactly 33 years ago, when I was 23 years old. It was early June of 1981 and some dear friends threw a surprise wedding shower/going away party for me. I showed up at a friend’s house thinking I was invited there for something else, and was so moved that they did this for me.

I noticed my Birkenstocks — they were my first pair. Navy blue suede and I wore them every day. I noticed that my jeans were pressed. All I have to say about that is hahahaha.

And I noticed of course that I was laughing. Hard. I can’t remember when I last had a good laugh like that, or had a merry heart.

I was so happy in this picture. I had met Michael only one time and was engaged to marry him in just a couple of weeks. If you’re new to this little blog and don’t know the story of how we were engaged before we ever met, you can read a short poetic version of what happened here.

I had given notice at my good job in Anaheim, California, and was getting ready to pack my things and move to Northeastern Minnesota with my two little girls, who were then four, and two and a half years old. I looked forward to the future with such gladness. I knew I was marrying someone special, and these three decades have done nothing but confirm that over and over and over. Michael is one of the most kind, forgiving, generous people I’ve ever known. In a world of rampant narcissism, selfies, self-promotion and entitlement, he stands out in the most beautiful ways. (He’s not perfect–I’m not saying that. Even now this disease has changed things in his personality that are so sad.)

I’m not the same person I was all those years ago either. But I keep reminding myself that I have the same God. He hasn’t changed, His love for us hasn’t changed, and He is not daunted by what has happened with us. I’ve said this until I sound like a broken record — how grateful I am that His mercies are new every morning.

“…even to your old age I am He,
    and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
    I will carry and will save.”

Isaiah 46:4

*         *         *         *         *         *

I feel like I need to be carried, yes. And saved, day in and day out. I give thanks today that the Lord says He will carry me and save me.

Are you thankful that the Lord is carrying and saving you too?

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Comments

  1. Roberta says:

    Dear Julie, I know that even a professional caregiver suffers bouts of great impatience and frustration in the caregiving situation. How much more difficult and problematic it must be when the patient is a spouse/family member, because,of the strong emotional involvement. Sooo complex!
    Forgive me, if I stick my two feet in here to inquire whether you have additional help, during the day, to assist you—other than other family.
    I can’t think of any caretaking situation that doesn’t necessitate some form of respite for the caregiver!
    Bless you, for always turning to God in the most trying situations. I am certain He sees and hears you and Michael, and that your suffering is also painful for Him.

  2. Just Julie says:

    I appreciate your compassionate words, Roberta. You may absolutely stick your two feet in here — your friendship has blessed me. I do have help…not quite enough I’m finding, but thankfully I have a total of 11 hours a week right now, and family members help us in addition to this when I need it. Thinking about you often, my NY friend… xoxo

  3. Ember says:

    May you be rested. May you be cheered. May you be happy. xxx

  4. Pat says:

    Julie, I wish I had words that could ease your burden. What a terribly difficult season this is. I think it’s wonderful that you are waxing nostalgic. Our past, our present – all of that God uses to mold us and refine us, right? That picture of you is so darling – you look like a model! If you need me in any way to help you, please please call me. I can sit with Michael, cook a meal, clean house, etc.

  5. Just Julie says:

    Thank you Pat and Ember. I’m always happy when you two leave a comment. 🙂 xoxo

  6. Larry says:

    Hello Sis:
    It hurts to pick up our Cross and it is not ever easy, nor is it always joyful.

    I have been studying the Cross of life and how it has affected me with it’s effects.

    To take up the Cross, is to submit to troubles and even afflictions from Love to Christ.

    What I have found is that it can be contrary, contradictory and yes even perplexing.

    It has caused me to study Christ’s sufferings and of the atonement of His greatest offer to me of salvation.

    It has represented to me conditions that have been adverse, or opposite or even obstructing of what I wanted to do.

    In some things and in some ways – it even has reflected to me a second side or like looking into cut glass, a second visual prism like that of some church windows filled with many colors of my past life.

    A Cross has always been symbolic and has always had many meanings for different people, one as to another. What we as individuals have to remember is that a Cross is not vogue or “in”, rather it is something that is a little frightful for even us as believers.

    I am blessed that you are bearing your soul for all to see, as it enables us (me) to direct our (my) prayers of support for you – up to Him.

    Sis, the Cross, whether it was His or ours, has always been associated with ideas of pain, or even guilt. Hang in there Sis as time is getting short and yes the road is getting much more narrow.

    When I look at the Cross, I realize that the center board is the support stem and even today He bears our weight of all things.

    The Cross has gone from being just a symbol to a emblem of mercy, of spiritual efficacy. It is our union by our faith with Christ, and it is not self imposed, but rather it is by our own choice we pick it up.

    Two separate pieces of wood, made up of Him and me or of Him and you.

    Those two pieces of Wood, are nothing side by side, but it is only when they are put across one to another that they become something in our lives. They become our Cross.

    It is at this point where we allow Him to carry us.

    I love you Sis.
    Me

  7. Just Julie says:

    Thank you Larry…. xoxo

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