Monday, April 20, 2009

Growing Old Separate

Sometimes I see them at Walgreens buying cough drops. Or driving together; both seated low in their seats, eyes fixed on the road. Sometimes I see them at the hospital; waiting at the doctor's office holding hands. Together. A man and a woman . . . a couple . . . growing old together.

As I look over at my husband Paul seated at the clinic, IV in his arm delivering chemotherapy, I realize we are growing old separate.

Only two years ago he was throwing our children over his shoulder, hoisting large boulders into place on the jobsite, and doing vigorous bench presses daily in our home gym. We exercised together, danced together and planned our lives together. Today everything is different.

We joke about the physical changes - and weep at them in less funny moments. It grieves us both to see . . . his body is tired and weak. It's like a time machine making him older quickly - and it's accelorated - but not me. A sad turn in the life you plan together . . . growing old separate.

Now I look at couples - elderly couples - and I think how lucky they are. To grow old together - at the same speed - on the same path. You can miss it because it is so incremental. What a blessed privelege . . . to grow old . . . TOGETHER.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

God Thank You For The Village

I've always heard the saying, "It takes a village". A trite statement that seems like a blanket response - just words - blah, blah, blah. Today I am thanking God for that village.

As a mom of five precious children, I see clearly where my energy, my wisdom and my influence ends. I see how limited is my influence right now given my main priority of taking care of Paul. I see how much is left undone with my kids - and I also see where grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, our church family, and friends are stepping in to support the needs of those children who are so important to me. Other adults are speaking peace and truth into the lives of my children at a time when I feel so lacking.

And in the life of my husband - to see a gift so significant to him - the completion of his replica 65' Cobra - there was yet another village. A village of excited, tool-turning, macho angels that banded together to assess, strategize and complete this massive project.

Every day now Paul and I see signs of his body changing in the way of the cancer. It is shocking and desperate and cruel. Tears and sobbing come at moments unexpected - dreams ripped away far too soon. Pastors and our church family pray with us and give us spiritual strength.

It takes a village. It takes a village because in situations like this the strength of one or two falls miserably short of being capable to stand. It takes a village because united we are stronger - more powerful, more focused. It takes a village because as a force we are marching - together - as a team.

And as I sit alone in the dark weeping in sadness and grief as my husband struggles through the night . . . I am thanking God for the village. The village reminds me . . . I am never alone. And neither is my sweet husband. God thank you for the village.