Courage at Twilight: Count Your Blessings

(This chapter was to be posted on December 10 but I neglected to click the “publish” button!  Hopefully, better late than never.)

When one counts one’s blessings, should the recounting of one’s afflictions come before or after? Or at all?  I am certainly greatly blessed in having moved from my solitude to my parents’ home.  Living the legacy of faithful family.  Serving and contributing and giving care.  Cooking and shopping and driving and repairing and cleaning up.  The gratitude and love and support of one’s devoted parents.  Reading dozens of books during my commute.  But the coin’s obverse also reveals itself, sometimes painfully.  My state-mandated divorce class emphasized how harmful is a parent’s geographic distance from a child.  I have paid a price by living an hour away from my teenage daughter.  We used to share an evening a week, and some weekends, cooking, baking, listening to music, playing games, sitting in the hot tub, doing crafts, conversing, dreaming.  Now I am lucky to take her to lunch twice a month.  She is 16.  She just earned her driver license.  She takes voice lessons and sings at church and in an audition choir.  She feels so far away.  In a similar vein, pursuing a romantic relationship has proven impractical what with the worries and fatigues of caregiving and homemaking.  Though I have dated, the added stress of relationship building (and, more to the point, relationship failure) has heaped new heaviness to my burdens.  My sisters tell me they love me and pray for me, that God is with me, but caution me to be aware of my limits and my needs, and to express them, so I can enjoy health and happiness, too.  That is good counsel.  One date said to me, There are lots of ways of caring for your parents without living with them.  That seemed to cheapen the revelation that brought me here.  That felt like questioning my intentions and deliberations and decisions.  That belied and belittled the magnitude of my mission and the refining value of my consecration.  Moving here was the right thing to do—even a providential revelational opportunity—but did come at a personal cost.  Was that cost worth paying?    My daughter Laura encouraged me to wrap myself in Psalm 23 as I experience this caregiving phase of life: The LORD is my shepherd. I shall not want. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  There is no turning back.  I am here to stay, come what may.

(Image by Hans from Pixabay

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