I have something to tell you but you may need to sit down.
Ready? Here goes.
Life happens! It is inevitable. And half of the time we have absolutely no control over what happens to us or when it happens.
There, I said it. But give me a moment to share a little more on this revelation.
So what’s happening?
Right now, right here in this moment, life is happening to me – again. It’s like a never-ending circle from which there is no escape.Many years ago when my elderly great-aunt was ailing I found myself researching the costs of nursing homes, long term in-house care and possible disposal of personal effects. We were lucky we had someone in the end who could stay with her and so she died peacefully at home in her own bed.
In 2008-2009 my mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and I found myself going through the process all over again. We hired someone to look after her during the day and worked a shift system at night with various members of the family until just before she died.
Four years later found me making calls and gathering the same type of info for my aging aunt (my mum’s closest sister). Unfortunately, there was no-one in the family who could live with her or look after her full time, which of course was her preferred state of existence.
What that particular life phase taught me …
- Nursing homes are expensive
- Getting a professional care giver to move into someone’s home is even more expensive
- Getting your elderly loved one to agree to leaving the comfort of their home and family is the most expensive undertaking of them all – expensive in terms of the high emotional costs to be paid.
… and Some ‘SSQs’ aka Seriously Sobering Questions
We only have one life to live and there is no guarantee as each day passes that we won’t be diagnosed with a terminal illness, become involved in a serious accident which leaves us disabled, fall prey to Alzheimer’s or Dementia, or God forbid become old and not be able to look after ourselves.
- So what do we do when ‘life’ happens?
- Will our family be able to look after us?
- Will we have enough money saved for long term care if needed?
- Will we be able to access funds from another source if our retirement savings are not enough?
- Will our medical insurance cover multiple surgeries or other medical procedures for an extended period of time?
- Will we be left to die alone in senior citizen’s home?
God is here!
These are sobering questions indeed but when I asked them of myself I did not have the answers. I do know that even as I struggled to do what was best for my aunt God comforted my troubled mind with the awesome beauty of His nature – a wave rolling into the shore from way out on the horizon, an amazingly blue sky with almost transparent clouds, a single flower growing out of a rock, tourists sun bathing peacefully on a beach, a light rain with a sweet gentle breeze.
And one more thing …
Before you get up from sitting in that chair remember: life (unfairly it seems) goes on for others even when it may be choking us. It’s like you ask: “How can people be calmly going about their business even though my mum has died?” or “How can people be sun-bathing and enjoying the beach while I am here stressed out of my poor mind wondering what to do next?”
If you are thinking like this, don’t give up! In the midst of life’s ‘happenings’, we need to be faithful and to see things that are yet to be brought into existence as though they are already here; to have hope for victory on the other side of the mountain challenge because God has not forgotten us!
God is all around us. I see Him in green traffic lights when I’m late, a phone call from a friend, a funny e-mail/Facebook post, a son who willingly cooperates instead of displaying an ‘attitude’, a prayer offered up on my behalf.
He is in my thoughts and knows I am worried about my future and what will happen to me as I get older but He also wants me to know that no matter what happens, we’re in this game of life together – right to the very end.
Best of all, I am especially glad He is with me here in Barbados because I am going to need Him to help me figure out a plan … for when more of my life happens.
So when life happens what do you do? Look for God … because He is EVERYWHERE!!! Do I hear an amen?