I had doubts and fears about school where I wondered if I could really do this. Thoughts were plaguing me about not finishing my degree the first time and not being able to finish this time. For a moment I thought perhaps I had taken on more than I could handle. I considered dropping a class and pushing my graduation date back or just scrapping the whole degree idea all together. Instead I prayed and sought counsel. This has been the best week I have had since I started!
The biggest area of attack, and the most important, came in the area of taking care of my father. You may recall from previous posts that my dad has dementia. The main reason I moved from Pennsylvania to back to my parents’ in Maryland was to help out with his care. In truth though, the bulk of the responsibility rested on my mother. Then in mid January mom had a bad fall. She broke her knee and her elbow rendering her basically helpless. I found myself suddenly in the driver’s seat.
I should probably explain a few things here before I go on. Many of you know that although my siblings and I were born in the U.S., our parents were not. Consequently, they raised us with a strong sense of culture and values that stay with us even today. The concept of honor, duty and family responsibility is deeply instilled in us. Things that the American mind does not think twice about are very real issues that we deal with regularly. One of those cultural mores surrounds who can and cannot care for my father, and believe it or not I am on that list.
So, I had plenty of help when it came to my mom’s care. My aunt and my cousins were able to help with her, however the dictates of Angolan culture don’t allow them to provide the kind of care that my dad needs. Ideally, it is the duty of the eldest son to care for his father or to one of my male cousins. Since there is no oldest son and my cousins live out of state guess who that leaves??? Yep, the responsibility of care-giver naturally fell to me and quite frankly, it scared me to death!
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have absolutely no affinity for the field of medicine. I respect it, but I am clear that that is NOT my calling and I am so alright with that. I am okay admitting that I am not the first one to look to in an emergency. The paramedics would have to pick me up off the ground because they would likely find me in hysterics lying next to the patient. And yet this is the person left to care for a man in need of assistance with his personal care - are you kidding me?!!(Can I just say that God’s sense of humor often leaves me feeling like I’m being punk’d!)
If I ever prayed about anything before, you better believe I prayed about this! And you know what? A funny thing happened - God’s graced me to handle the task! How about that? When I yielded myself to the situation and decided to bite the bullet and deal with whatever came, God’s sufficient grace kicked in. What’s more, because of God’s grace my father is able to accept my help when he otherwise would not have and I am able to give it in spite of cultural dictates.
Now I admit I have not done everything right. Sometimes I get weary. I am not going to run out and switch vocations by any means. Nevertheless, I am amazed at the things I have been able to do; things I never thought I would or could do. I am not so foolish as to think this has anything to do with me being so great. God gets all the credit. I don’t know what will happen after mom recuperate. What I now know is that I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength and today that is great news!
What daunting task is looming in front of you today? What is causing you to doubt your abilities? What fears are whispering lies in your ear? Grab in to the grace of God today because truly it IS sufficient.