Friday, January 21, 2011

The Strange Change - A Mother Story

My mom went out last night with a friend.  Now you might be thinking, "Well isn't that nice."  Just let me say that her going out started an evening of head spinning emotions for my sister, my husband and I.
I'll begin by telling you a bit about my mom so you can understand the situation fully.  Mom is 84 years old and lives by herself in a tiny little town in New Mexico.  She drives to another town about 40 minutes away every Thursday to get her hair done and do her weekly shopping.  This has been her routine for many years.  Mom learned to drive as an adult and while not the greatest driver in the world she is a cautious driver and does very well, umm unless you count when she drove into the cement blockade in front of her local Town and Country one morning.  That's another story.

Mom gets up every morning around 4 AM and starts her daily routine of cleaning or working in her yard, maybe cooking or baking something for an ailing friend, and then going to the Senior Center to eat lunch with her friends.  In the afternoon she may go play games with her friends, take someone to the doctor or just piddle around her house and then catch the evening news.  She is usually ready for bed by 7 PM at the latest and always falls asleep watching one of her shows on TV.

On Thursdays I generally call her in the late afternoon or evening to see how her trip to the beauty shop went.  Now I do realize they are called "salons" nowadays but to Mom it is and always will be the "beauty shop".  Last night I went to my granddaughter's soccer game so I didn't call until around 7:30 PM to check in with her.  No answer.  Thinking she might be in the bath I wait 30 minutes and call again.  Still no answer so I leave a message stating that I'm wondering where she is and to call me when she gets in.  I hang up and call her cell phone which I have finally convinced her to leave on when she is away from the house.  I don't even bother to leave a message there because although I have showed her numerous times how to retrieve the messages, she still can't seem to do it.  I'm mildly worried at this point but not alarmed.  I call both phones every 30 minutes for the next 3 hours.  Around 9 PM I texted my sister to see if she spoke with her and knew something I didn't concerning her whereabouts.  She doesn't.  Now we are both worrying and I've involved my husband also who is a bit upset with her for making us all worry.   By 10:15 PM my sister and I are frantically searching for phone numbers of friends and neighbors.  She was on the internet and I was digging through drawers.  Finally she decides to get in the car and drive to New Mexico.  I'm still digging and my husband continues the internet search with any name  I can think of.  At last we locate a number and I phone her friend.   She of course hasn't spoke with her all day and knowing how my mom loves to go to bed early and hates the cold, she says she will make some calls and head over to her house and call me back.  I call my sister and tell her to wait a few minutes before she leaves town.   The friend calls back in 5 minutes and has located her.  Seems she and her neighbor are at the Senior Center listening to a country western band.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????  My mom is out on the town and has missed her curfew that I have self appointed her and she has not even had the courtesy to call me and ask my permission to be out late.
Furthermore, why did she not have that cell phone we bought her handy?  She should have at least let me know she made it home from the beauty shop.  Here I am pacing the floors thinking she could be lying in a ditch or unconscious somewhere and she's out partying with her friends.  Boy is she in trouble when she gets home!

Whoa there Donna.  Take a deep breath and relax.  She is OK.  Did she not offer you grace on a few occasions when you wrecked your car, came in a bit late, forgot to call and tell her you were going to a friends after school?

The phone rings a little before 11 PM and a timid little voice starts making all the excuses she can think of.  She feels bad for worrying us and I agree that the loud music probably made it impossible to hear her phone that was stuffed inside her purse.  "No Mother, it's not broken it works fine you just didn't hear it."
I listen patiently as she tells me how her friend begged her to get dressed and go with her.  (Yeah that's a good one I've used before.)   Oh and the ever classic, "I was with her and didn't have a way home.  I told her I wanted to leave an hour ago."  (Whatever!)

My daughter Crystal with her Nannie Retta
Wait a minute.  At what point in my life did I stop being the child and become the parent of my mom.  Was all that child raising just practice for this time of life.  Watching your parents age is a difficult thing.    I'm sure it is strange for my mom to watch me begin to age also.  She is convinced that I have more wrinkles than her and that she is healthier than I ever thought about being.  She could be right on both counts.  I'm blessed to still have her in my life and if she worries me sometime then I will count that a blessing too.  I didn't have the heart to scold her when it came down to it last night but I'm thinking she won't be doing that again.  I could be wrong.  I seem to remember thinking my daughters wouldn't do stuff again either.  LORD give me courage!!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

You Don't Know What You're Asking

For the past few weeks I have been digging through old photos and family history.  I have traced part of my family back to the year 1000.  Let me tell you right now that when you go digging through the past you better be prepared for a few surprises.  Some surprises are fun and some I would just as soon have never known.  One of my ancestors escorted Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc) into town when her army arrived in 1428.  How cool is that?  There were Kings guards, noblemen, mayors, one was the founder of the Templars, duelers and some accused of theft, looting, extortion, rape, arson and murder but were later pardoned by the king.  My family actually ended up in the United States after one ancestor was forced to leave France after an "unfortunate duel and disastrous affairs" in 1789.  Not so cool!  Well...the dueling part sounds sort of cool.

My Grandfather on left in 1914.
I woke early on January 12, 2011 with family history on my mind.  I began praying for my family.  Now often when I pray silently my mind tends to wonder a bit.  But in this moment I was very focused and I was making my appeal to the Lord and then as if He were sitting right there listening He replied "You don't know what you're asking.".

I admit I was a bit confused and surprised by the quick response.  I started going through my list of questions to make sure my prayers weren't being hindered by my worldly view.  Was I asking the impossible?  No, the bible tells me nothing is impossible for God.  Was I being selfish in my request?  I honestly don't think so.  Would it change the course of my family history? Yes.  Would lives be changed for the good in the long run.  Absolutely.  So what do you do in this situation?  What do you do when you ask God for something and you don't get the response you had hoped for?

I've spent some time thinking about it and have come to the conclusion that for me, in this particular instance, God was telling me that He could do it but that I wouldn't be able to bear it.  Since He has promised not to give me more than I can bear, I will take comfort in knowing that He knows what is best for me.  I will ask God to help me pray in accordance with His will so that I  know that my prayers will be answered.  I will remember what my pastor Patrick Payton said in 2002, "Prayer is where my arguments for my will and my choices begin to cease and where I adjust and surrender to the purposes and plans of God.".  I will refine my request until it lines up with God's will.

I love that I can courageously go before the throne of grace and continue to plead my case to a loving Father who will tell me no when it's for my good and encourage me to dig deeper within myself to reconcile the answer.  No matter what the history records say, my Father is God.  I am His treasured child and when I depart this world and my records are entered for future generations, I pray that no matter what else is said of me, that what will stand out is that I was a Christ Follower and that my descendants true heritage lies in heaven.