I wait to hear something from Him because I have no prayer to offer Him that He hasn’t heard a thousand times. Then I rearrange my legs, look out the window, try to ignore the dryer buzzer, and soon give up. I blow out the candle, saying, “Lord, please show up today. I feel useless, like a huge failure.” That’s it and that has pretty much been the routine in the past few weeks.
It has been a trying time. I worked on making arrangements for my mother to move into assisted living—an assessment of her condition, meetings with medical people and social workers, financial affairs, and a tour of the facility. In the end, mama said she wouldn’t/couldn’t go, that she didn’t want to leave her home. It costs an additional $14,000 a month to hire round-the-clock aides to care for her. My mother is not a wealthy woman; we can’t afford this arrangement for long.
And in the past couple of months—since she broke her femur, had surgery, and spent weeks in rehab—her general condition has declined. She is 91 years old, on oxygen 100% of the time, her heart is weak, and she can’t walk without help. She says she doesn’t want to live like this. I have discussed hospice care with her, she thinks it sounds right, and now I’m working on choosing a hospice service and getting it into place.
This focus on—literally—life and death and feeling responsible for the decisions about her care are heavy. I’m nearly 70 and I fear what will unfold for me as I age. Feeling isolated, depressed, with heavy responsibility and little support is taking a toll on me. I don’t eat right, I drink too much, I don’t exercise, and I don’t have the energy to change anything. I can’t see anything in my future that is going to make it different.
And even my attempts to pray seem hopeless. “Lord, show me a way. Please!”
On this beautiful spring day, the day before Easter, I was driving home from Trader Joe’s. The radio wasn’t on and I wasn’t thinking about anything in particular other than what would be the least congested route home. And out the blue I heard, “I came so that you may have life and have it abundantly.”
Of course, I cried. It was exactly what I needed to hear from Him. Tomorrow is the most holy day in Christianity—the day that celebrates Jesus’s resurrection from the dead. He came to earth, taught us how to live, died hanging on a cross, then rose. And yes, the words that I heard today were a paraphrase of what He said while He was on earth. He came for me, not that I should live on the edge, not really living, not mired in sorrow, not abusing or wasting the life He gave me. He came so I could live abundantly.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10