Friday, July 16, 2010

A found letter

Beve's been riding a red hare this morning. Isn't that a great image?  My tall, well-built spouse on a small, quick mythical creature that makes him squirm this way and that, race from one aborted task to the next?  He's taken apart an old game table that's sat on our back deck for as long as we've lived here, weeded a bed in the back yard, moved some wood, somewhere managed to turn up (though I'm pretty sure it wasn't hiding in the flower bed) a letter written by my mother three years ago.

It used to be that when I saw my mom's inimitable handwriting (and I know it's inimitable because I sure tried imitating it in middle school!), I'd flinch, at least internally.  It almost never boded well to get an unexpected letter from Mom.  However, this morning when Beve dropped it on my lap as I was drinking my tea, I felt a pang of sadness because it's been a long time since she's been able to write anything, let alone so smoothly and perfectly across the page.  My mother's handwriting was once one of the few things I could find to commend her, I'm sorry to say, but despite my inability to see the good in her, that handwriting was one of the most perfect I've ever seen. (Oddly, the other perfect penmanship belonged to Beve's mom.)

Anyway, it's the content of this letter that caught me this morning. When this letter was written, Mom was spending her days--literally all of her days--working through the Bible.  From the time she awakened in the morning, she'd work on her 'writings', i.e. copying Bible verses, copying prayers, and--most significantly, trying to write responses to verses in the Bible.  By this time, which was February of 2007, she'd forgotten that she'd taught Bible studies for years, and trying to come up with responses often took the whole day and a great amount of frustration.  And, because she was who she was, she was always self-evaluating those responses, certain she wasn't saying the right things, wasn't good enough or whatever.

But here it is in her own rather poignant words:
February 28, 2007
"And [Abram] believed! Believed God! God declared him 'Set right with God.'" Genesis 13:6 (The Message)

Here is my response--
If God told me--really told ME--that something would happen for me, would I believe? Of course I would! But if I read a scripture in the Bible which reports something from God--well, that's a different story.  I try very hard to believe promises written thousands of years ago.  It's harder.  Am I like Thomas who needed to see Jesus' injuries?  I trust God to love me always.  I trust--believe--that God is the creator.  I believe that I will someday go to heaven.  I trust in Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  But do I believe that God will cure my dementia?  I doubt it.
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Dear God, I want to be a new creation; I want to be an ambassador for Christ; I want to be part of the Righteousness of God.  Lead me, please, Lord; show me the way.  Help me be able. Amen.

I put this in so you would see I'm not so messed up.
 That final sentence really gets me.  Everything else sounds just like I'd write, what most of us might write if we were as honest as she was being here.  She was facing the dilemma every Christian faces, how to trust God, especially how to trust Him with the hard, hard things in our lives.  When we hold up our actual real circumstances against those words written so long ago, do we believe? Mom had doubts. And, I'm guessing, so would I.  Actually, so did I about Him healing her.  But what gets me is that she thought it made her messed up to have them. That last sentence makes me very sad because it speaks volumes about her essential self.

But the rest is encouraging.  For all of us.  Here, for all our family to see is Mom's black and white statement of faith.  And this is a good thing because her life is being measured out in weeks now, unless the reserves in her body are greater than anticipated.  And that's possible. Maybe even likely. Mom always has had hidden reserves despite how she appears. But the end is near. Very near now, for which we are thankful.  God didn't cure Mom's dementia, but He will take her home soon.  And then she will be healed.  She was faithful, as good as soldier as she could be with what she'd be given.  And that's plenty.

And that Beve found this letter this morning is God's timing.  Yesterday afternoon my youngest, in-town, chief-care-giver, sister had a meeting at the skilled nursing facility where Mom's body awaits its release, and RE requested, er, make that demanded on behalf of all of us, that Mom stop being force-fed, force-dressed, force-everything.  In their good intentions, the staff has pried open a mouth that refuses to open, yelled in a face that doesn't know her name nor even responds now to sound at all, has tipped cups down her throat all in the name of keeping her alive.  But to what end?  Why?  What quality is this existence?  I'm telling you I'm not painting the picture nearly as bleakly as it actually is, honestly, I'm not.  So stop already, just stop it.  And that's essentially what RE said.  With our blessing. With our love.  And, I think, given the content of this letter found this morning, with Mom's blessing as well.  It's time to go to heaven for Mom.  Time to free her from the prison of uncured dementia.  Time for Mom to be the new creation in a new body with a brand new brain she prayed for.
Amen. Halleujah!

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