I love watching the water. Whether it’s the turmoil of the ocean waves or the serenity of the small retention pond that was behind our house in Florida, the movement of the water and the way the light and wind play across its surface are very soothing to me. When my caregiving duties overwhelmed me, I often sat in the swing on the lanai and lost myself in the peace and quiet.
Where do you find peace and quiet? Where do you go when life as a caregiver becomes too much? It really doesn’t matter where you go physically as long as you find a way to reach that place of peace within yourself. Today’s verse is a continuation of last week’s verse in which Paul said to relax, be grateful, and pray in order to find the peace that only God can offer.
A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos
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Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Psalm 90:1
Yahoo’s online dictionary gives a couple of definitions for the word dwell. The first one is “to live or exist in a given place.” When the Psalmist spoke of God as our dwelling place, he didn’t mean a place to visit occasionally. Dropping in at church when we want to cross an item off our to-do list, or frantically calling the prayer chain when the cares of life weigh us down, is probably not what he had in mind. He meant a permanent place to live and exist–a place like he described in Psalm 91. (more…)
As a dementia caregiver, I lived under a perpetual load of guilt. It was not true, rational guilt that came from wrongdoing, but rather a constant vague feeling of unrest that continually ate at me. No matter how good a job I was doing, I never felt like I was doing enough. No matter how well I handled a situation, I always felt like I could have done better. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had the unrealistic idea that if I did everything right, Mom and Dad would get better. When this didn’t happen, when they continued to slip away from me, I wrestled with the feeling that they were losing the battle and that somehow it was my fault.
For several years I helped facilitate a caregiver support group at my church, and I discovered that I was not alone in my struggle with guilt. Most of the members of the group dealt with the same issue. We knew that, for the most part, our feelings were unfounded and that we were doing the best job possible under the circumstances. We focused a lot of attention on encouraging each other and finding ways to overcome this guilt. (more…)
When we bought our little 2+ acre homestead four years ago, it was in need of some TLC. In a previous post called “Other People’s Garbage,” I wrote about the piles of junk and partially burned trash we found. This picture shows one of the larger piles in the lower right-hand corner. The downed tree was blackened and surrounded by a mound of dirt and the non-combustible remains of many fires. (more…)
The table decorations had disappeared, the signs that had been suspended over the buffet table with fishing line were gone and the Fellowship Hall was set up for Bible study class. The multitude of signs pointing toward restrooms, registration and coffee were gone, and the masculinity of the men’s rooms had been restored, the artificial flower arrangements having been removed from the urinals. A vacuum was running somewhere, and several of the youth were wiping finger prints off the glass doors. Extra chairs were gone from the sanctuary, and the Communion table was set and ready for Sunday morning worship. David and I boarded the shuttle bus that would take us and a few other tired volunteers to the remote parking at the Methodist church. It looked like the Redeeming the Time Ladies Conference our church had hosted was over, but it wasn’t. (more…)
From: Zeology The Art + Science of Sleep
I missed my Friday post, partly for the same reasons I’m writing instead of sleeping at 12:30 in the morning and partly for other reasons. First, we were out of data on our WiFi card and our new month didn’t start until Saturday, and even though I have unlimited data on my new iPhone, I wasn’t sure I was up to blogging on a three-inch keyboard. Second, we spent the morning winding up our New Year’s visit with David’s mom and the afternoon driving home. I intended to write on Saturday, but then the real reason kicked in – I was preoccupied. Several months ago our pastor asked if I would consider coordinating a one-day ladies’ conference our church was planning to host. If I had said no right then, I might have posted a blog on Friday, and I might be asleep right now. Instead I said I would think about it and pray about it and let him know. (more…)
My son Christian Piatt had a confusing spiritual upbringing. He says he was raised by a Southern Baptist and an atheist, so he split the difference and became a heretic. In fact, his blog is called “Father, Son and Holy Heretic,” and he uses it as an outlet for, among other things, working through his spiritual restlessness. He recently wrote a post titled “Longing for the Unreachable God” in which he talked about wrestling with the focus on personal salvation and specifically on the assurance that some Christians, especially more conservative Christians, feel about their eternal destination. Since then I’ve spent some time reflecting on his post, and I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts. By the way, in case you’re wondering, I’m the Southern Baptist in the equation. (more…)
What does Tom Selleck have to do with spiritual gifts? If you’ll bear with me through a few paragraphs, I’ll try to retrace my train of thought.
I’ve loved Tom Selleck since he was Magnum P.I., so I was really excited in early 2005 when I saw advertisements for a made-for-TV movie called Stone Cold. Selleck had the starring role as Jesse Stone, chief of police in a small town called Paradise. It wasn’t great cinema, but it was great Selleck. He played the part as if it had been written especially for him. In the next two years, three more Jesse Stone movies were aired, each one better than the last. The movies were based on a series of novels by Robert B. Parker, and I fell more in love with him than with Selleck. I’ve always been a sucker for a good mystery, and Parker was the best. His story lines were good enough to hold the reader’s interest but simple enough to allow his rich cast of characters to shine. (more…)
Last week I exchanged several e-mails with a friend who had just returned from a trip to care for a loved one in distress. In addition to travel fatigue, she was feeling especially sad because of the approaching anniversary of the death of someone who played a major role in her life. Her last e-mail was short and to the point.
It’s been a pretty tough week. Jet lag and grief apparently enhance one another. (more…)