Sometimes I get a reprieve, but not today. Sometimes circumstances or time or maybe even God allow me to forget, but not today. Sometimes I can ignore or play dumb as it were, but not today. About what you ask... Well, you see, my dad has dementia. It's not always apparent and those are the times when the man I used to know is still there, but then there are the times like today where it is all too evident and oh so heartbreaking.
My dad's sister, from Angola was with us from late August until early November. When she was packing for her return trip, she realized that she had more things than she could take with her so she left it here and made arrangements with my dad to have the rest sent to her. Someone is traveling to Angola this week and is expected anytime to pick up some of my aunt's things. In the mean time, my dad has been writing my aunt a letter since Friday of last week, but there was always an issue. First, he didn't have paper, then the paper didn't have lines, then it had lines on both sides and he only wanted lines on one. The truth of the matter is - Dad is past the point where he can organize his thoughts and write a coherent letter himself, but he can't admit that to himself. It was easier to argue that he didn't have the right paper... The man whose livelihood depended on the wonderful sermons he wrote, now can barely string together a coherent thought. It's the saddest thing ever.
Today he calls out to my mom that he'll be right back... Come to find out his plan was to get in the car and go get the paper with lines on one side himself because we weren't moving fast enough for him. Problem - he is no longer legally allowed to drive, not to mention that he can't see well anymore and doesn't have the physical capacity to drive! Still he was going to buy paper. When my mom refused to let him use her car he appeared in my doorway (I was home in bed sick today...) demanding my car keys. Excuse me??? It defied everything I know culturally (well- bred Angolan eldest daughters do not defy their fathers), but I put my foot down and refused to give him my keys! The man who bought me my first car and who I once felt safest with in a car, I now had to talk to like he was my 2-year-old nephew and tell him no... He was so stubborn and insistent and our "discussion" went on for at least 20 minutes. How it hurt to have to tell him that he was not allowed to drive anymore. And when he demanded to know why he couldn't drive anymore I could barely speak. I explained that he no longer had a license. He stared back blankly... What else could I say? Still I stood my ground. Finally, when he realized he wasn't going to wear me down, he gave up and left.
So today, for a that moment, it was impossible to forget, ignore, or play dumb. There was no reprieve. The harsh reality stared me in my face and there was nowhere I could go except to that secret place in God. The word of God says in Proverbs 18:10 that "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe." (NKJV) In that moment that I had to remember that even when I no longer recognize the man standing in front of me, God is still good and He is still faithful and, whether I see it or feel it or not, He is perfecting EVERYTHING that concerns me (Psalm 138:8 NKJV)
This is such a hard road, but it makes all the difference to know I'm not traveling it alone. As a dear friend put it the other night, "God has already walked out your steps and now He's back to walk you through it!" AMEN! Whatever you're facing today, know that God is with you every step of the way.
Happy Wednesday all.