Friday, February 28, 2014

The Phone Call

There was a voice message on my phone I finally saw and listened to yesterday. Dean had already given me the number to call someone back the day before, but I had no idea how much labor went into the process of getting that number.

The recorded message told it all. Dean was so slow in answering the phone that it went to voicemail and recorded their conversation. The poor phone operator was so patient with him. It took him forever to get the pen and paper to write down her number. And she had to repeat it numerous times for him to get it right. He kept reversing digits, reading it back to her wrong, and she had to correct him. It was almost comical--I kept holding back laughter while listening to it. Why she didn't just hang up and try to contact someone else, I'll never know.

It seems to me that God must have just as hard a time getting through to us sometimes. We drag our feet about answering His call, about getting the message, and even mess up getting it right. But He's a patient operator. He wants us to succeed, no matter how sin has disabled us. I hope I can be a better listener from here on out.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Strange Strangers

Dean and I have been church-hopping for the last three years. Not that we aren't sure of our beliefs, but I'm just not sure how Dean's going to behave in a church setting these days. He's not always appropriate at our house, so why would it be any different at God's house, right?

Fortunately, our city is large enough to support several Adventist churches, so we can find somewhere to worship on those weeks that Dean just insists that he has to have the fellowship of other believers. And I can't blame him for that. It's one of the main reasons for corporate worship, isn't it?

Yesterday we took the chance of staying for a meal at the end of the church service. A really risky environment. I made him promise to be a gentleman, and then we took the plunge to the church basement with many other visitors, mostly local college students. You could tell the meal was tailored for them--haystacks (or Adventist buffet-style tacos).

Naturally these young people were being reticent of being too friendly with the likes of the "big kid" at my side. Not that any were not polite, but it was obvious that Dean was not going to be their choice of table partner. They had their girlfriends and boyfriends to focus on.

There was one lady who sat close enough to us for conversation though. She looked young, but we found out she was in her thirties. She welcomed and encouraged Dean's conversation, and I could see him getting warmed up for some of his famous "stories". She hung on his words, and I was so impressed that she would engage him in the one activity that he craves so much--socializing during a meal.

How many times have I neglected to reach out to strangers--especially the "strange" ones? What would it have meant to someone had I ignored my shyness and just done something as simple as starting a conversation? For some, that's all it takes. With the Lord's help, I want to do better in this area.

The very ones who look least approachable may be the ones who need it the most. Those are the ones I want to connect with. Because those are the ones Jesus would have looked for. He was searching the crowd when He found Zacchaeus up in a tree. How hard have I been looking for someone to invite myself to be in their company?

Before his accident, Dean was the one who looked for someone he felt needed companionship. And now he's the one on the other end. I'm so glad he got noticed yesterday. Jamie (I try to remember names, since Dean can't), you were truly an angel in disguise for an old man yesterday. I wish I could give you a thousand hugs.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Healing Thumbs

Dean's thumb has been a target of his for quite awhile now. At times, his nervous picking at this thumb with the fingers of that hand has led to open sores. Nobody, even Dean, pays much attention to this "thumb picking" until it gets to this stage. When Dean asks for the Bandaids, I know it's time to build his thumb fortress again to help minimize the damage and give the sores time to heal.

The day after his bath aide successfully built a mighty fortress on his thumb (he could hardly bend it, let alone pick at it), our granddaughter walked in with a similar injury from a paper cut. Unknowingly, her mom had fortified her thumb with a similar bandage.

They were quite a pair, both of them sporting white thumbs.

This thumb can be an example of how sin is in our life. We don't pay it much attention until it gets to the "open sore" stage. Then Jesus graciously covers us, ready to keep those nasty fingernails of temptation from penetrating His white robe of righteousness. If we'd only learn to keep this covering on all the time, the healing underneath would be complete.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Not-So-Super Bowl

This is the first time I have felt driven to write a blogpost right after writing another one on It's called "My Soapbox" there. But the topic is so pertinent and timely, I just can't help myself.

It pertains to the Superbowl game last night. Like everyone else, I get fired up about the game, but from a whole different perspective than most people. My readers here understand all too well the challenges of my life as a caregiver, so I don't have to describe to you what it's like to live with someone with a brain injury and its resulting dementia.

My problem with football is that we are being entertained by watching men, and unfortunately our youth, getting battered in ways that will affect them for the rest of their lives. The most insidious injury though to me is that of brain or head injury, concussions.

They used to call it "getting your bell rung". You can imagine how the sound of that makes me cringe, because it illustrates the lighthearted attitude of past years, before we knew much about the workings of the brain. I heard a TV commentator say recently that we have learned more about the brain in the last five years than we knew for centuries before that.

So the stark reality is that with football players retiring or leaving the game for various reasons, we have seen symptoms of a disorder that has been identified as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It has been undeniably linked with repeated concussions that some of these players sustain over their careers in the league. It was previously thought to occur only with professional boxers, but has now been linked with the sport of football as well.

Young people are particularly in danger, and that is the sad part about us dragging our feet about doing something about the problem. We are putting their delicate brains in jeopardy, and all for the sake of the game. I realize sports are good for kids. But there has to be safer methods to foster team spirit and boost self-esteem, without the competitiveness and injuries to their bodies that we are encouraging.

OK, I'll get off my second soapbox today. Read the book "The League of Denial" for more information!