Thursday, September 20, 2012

The river

Sometimes life just moves along at a rather even pace. Even when it's busy and is crowded with rapids, it's also ordinary. At least for us. We grow used to the challenges, I suppose. Beve comes home exhausted this time of year, when he spends hours a day working to make sure every student has a complete and reasonable schedule, talking to parents who aren't pleased with those schedules and to teachers who somehow find it difficult to find an extra chair, let alone extra time, for the 39th student in their class. And talking to administrators who disapprove of such schedule adjustments. But it's a balancing act Beve's been doing in for over 20 years now, so it just means that this season if a little more difficult to navigate in the river that is our life.

And, if not comfortable, we've grown at least used to the slow changes we see in Grampie on a weekly basis. His continuing slide into dementia, his daily surprise and sadness that Thyrza is across the country rather than just across town, the sometimes amusing delusions he has about where he resides (boats, planes, trains, office buildings) have stopped surprising us. Though we never know what we'll find when we find him, he's still sweet and glad to see him each visit and that's enough for now.

And even the pain we of living with our son's pain has become the new normal in our lives. We no longer expect more of him than we should, don't measure him against others his age, but just take him as he is and are glad for the better days, sad for the harder ones, and pray through it all.

This is the river we're paddling. One with ordinary things in it like laundry and grocery shopping and playing with dogs and being so tired at each day's end that we watch some TV, vegging on the couch as though we've run marathons.

But now and then--in everyone's life, I think--there comes a time when the river of life overflows its banks. This week has been such a time for us.  We've been flooded with events so momentous that we hardly keep our head above the new water line.  And I don't mean to say that all of these things are bad. By no means. In fact, on one side of the river, have been such glorious things that we are overwhelmed by hope and joy and knee-bending thanksgiving for God's faithfulness. And though I tend to share such things easily, there is a strong sense right now that we are to treasure them in our hearts, to wait and see and trust that what has been promised will come to pass. But He knows and He knows and He is faithful.

At the same time--yes, at exactly the same hour, in fact--on the other side of the river, the breaching of the banks has brought pain and sadness and worry and...well, all those things that one feels in the worst of situations. Though we aren't quite intimately in either situation, we are close enough to be swept up in it, and hurt deeply with the hurting. And, of course, this is often how Kingdom-work is, there are people burdened to breaking and there are burden-bearers who help carry the load, who, by the gift of presence stand in the flood and feel the rush of the swirling waters and hold up the drowning.  This, too, has been our week. Again, stories not mine to tell, naturally.

But here we are. Flooded on every side. But not crushed or broken. Living a week so extraordinary it feels like it's been a month long already. And it's only Thursday. Whoa. God alone knows what today and tomorrow will bring.

But for in joy or in sorrow, we know WHO tomorrow will bring. For now, I stand in the river. Between the extremes of the flooded banks. Stand firm between hope and suffering, relying on Him who is in it all, who knows it all, who goes before and behind and keeps those who trust in Him.
Thank God.

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