Friday, July 1, 2016

Music plays when the needle drops...

We gave our kids means to buy dinner, gave them strict rules that they must not split up or leave anyone behind, and told them to have fun.  Then we went to dinner.  Just the two of us. 

In the middle of the park, we sat at a winery and had a meal to celebrate our twenty years of marriage. Our table sat next to a fountain and herb garden, and with the magic only held by Disney, made us feel like we could have been in another country.  (All those "date nights" you think you're going to have as a married couple?  Ha!  They are spent sitting in the stands at ball games, taking people to practice, or when you are living right, going to bed before 10!)

To be honest, this twentieth year was hard.  There's this misconception I had that marriage is supposed to get easier as the years go by.  But ugh....we aren't there yet if that's the case.  (And this was a year that held no hospital stays or surgeries!)  Massive amounts of grace have been poured on each other from both sides. Grace, forgiveness, love...copious amounts of all three required to make it to 20 years and every day after. 

Slow to start at first, our dinner conversation eventually turned to answering the question, "What would you do differently?"  Some obvious mistakes I'd love to change, but overall?  Really, not much.  Too many of the difficulties that have come our way, whether we've been in control of them or not, have taught me too much.  Where would we be without the struggle?  Who would I be?  Every struggle, from the years-long argument of which way towels should be folded, to "we need/don't need a dog," and "we need/don't need another dog," to financial issues and parenting...all have taught me and shaped me into who I am now.  Not that I wouldn't give up some of the pain we've endured, but the blessings that always rise to the top are immeasurable.  I see this in our children more and more every day in how they treat others and how they look at life. 

In the middle of the daily whirlwind of life, this is a hard truth to remember. So is stuff like what is on the grocery list when you're at the store and if I took my vitamins for the day, but I digress.   The knowledge of being certain Who is in control helps weather the storms, because no doubt the storms will come.  We just have to be prepared to hold tight and ride it out.  Then afterward, assess and do whatever it takes to mend what was damaged in the process. 

Listen to this.  Just so happens it was written and performed by a kid who grew up the same place I did...

"Music plays when the needle drops
Through the scars on the vinyl..." - Eric Paslay

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

If you're lucky, a frozen pizza

As I was reading one evening, I came across a paragraph that I read over again about 5 times.  I put my head up and looked around. It was like the author had looked into our life, and put it perfectly into words: 
"...and occasionally he would just seem to disappear, as if the only way he could cope with the sensation (pain) was to absent himself from his own body."  *

A few paragraphs later, same thing:
"Despite all this, Will did not complain.  This was why it had taken me weeks to notice that he suffered at all.  Now I could decipher the strained look around his eyes, the silences, the way he seemed to retreat inside his own skin.  ...  Sometimes he was in so much pain that his face actually leached color, turning to pale putty.  Those were the worst days."*
 And then a couple of chapters later, again. 

I love to read, not that I have much time to read for pleasure.  When I do, a warning comes to my family in which they know clean laundry will become a mountain in the laundry basket and dishes won't get done unless they do those things themselves.  Also, sandwiches or cereal may be the dinner choices a few nights in a row.  If you're lucky, a frozen pizza. :) the second to last full week of school, I decided to start a book, because there wasn't enough going on! I finished in four days. Many of you have probably read this story, as it released in 2012 and is now a movie releasing in a few days.  Going into it, I knew the premise of the story of "Me Before You"...what I didn't realize was that it would strike such a chord in me. 

Do I live with a person who is quadriplegic?  No.

Do I question the value of one's life based on their physical abilities?  No.

Do I live in a small English town with a castle sitting in the middle of it?  Ahem, far from it.

Have I been a caregiver to a man I love, trying to make his life good and worth every minute he's around, trying to balance the man-vs-patient, caregiver-vs-wife, "independent grown man"-vs- "so desperately needing help", all while moving forward with the life that's happening around us?  YES.

Things with his health lately have been status quo and most people that just see him around right now probably think nothing's really wrong with that man.  Bad days, better days, and all the in-between.  Although I say it cautiously, no hospital stays in over a year.   But where we have been is not a distant memory, and what he lives with every day would put most of us in bed for weeks.

Whatever life brings, I hope and pray each of us value each day.  That's what I seem to always come to in this blog: appreciate the life you have today.  Appreciate those around you, even if they are getting on your very last nerve and cause you to do things like finish a pint of ice cream or a bag of caramel corn.  :)

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up with the time comes." Matthew 6:34

*  from "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes, Chapter 7, pages 102, 103