Just when I thought that life was going to settle down a little, my world was turned upside down again!
Last Thursday, my 91-year-old father flew to Alberta from his home in Vancouver. On Saturday, he walked his granddaughter down the aisle of Fort Edmonton‘s historic Anglican Church of St. Michael and the Angels. It was a unique and beautiful wedding and he was honoured to play such an important role.
Less than 48 hours later, he was relaxing at my sister’s home in Vegreville when he suffered a cerebellar stroke!
Richard and I had just finished playing the third hole on our local golf course when the clubhouse manager drove out to tell us that our niece was trying to get hold of us about a medical emergency. We live just minutes away so in no time at all we were on our way to the Vegreville Hospital, arriving just in time for me to climb into an ambulance and accompany Dad as he was transferred to a larger hospital in Edmonton.
After laying in Emergency for another 48 hours waiting for a bed, he was finally transferred to the stroke ward yesterday. A cerebellar stroke affects the back of the brain which controls balance and coordination. Dad suffered no paralysis but he’s unable to stand without assistance because his sense of balance is completely off and he’s experiencing some weakness in his right hand. His speech is slurred, but mostly understandable, and he’s having some difficulty swallowing so he’s being given soft foods and thickened drinks. He is cognitively unimpaired and is in reasonably good spirits considering the circumstances.
I, on the other hand, feel like I’m reaching the end of my rope! In the past thirteen months, I’ve been diagnosed with two unrelated cancers. I’ve had seven hours of surgery and thirty radiation treatments for one of them and three radioisotope treatments for the other. I also lost my mother in June. Enough already!
In this morning’s devotions, I read about Gideon and I could definitely identify when he asked, “If the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13)
Another devotional that I read this week was written by blogger, Cindy Keating of Red Carpet Life. It spoke of the pruning that God does in our lives to bring about greater fruitfulness.
I looked up and saw a sadly barren tree taped off in the middle of the orchard. It stuck out like a sore thumb with a noticeable sign hanging from it’s highest branch: “Pruning In Process.”
I instantly thought of the many painful times I have had to be pruned so the beauty of my fruit could shine for God’s glory rather than my own.
Is that what’s happening in my life? If so, I hope God has read this recommendation concerning pruning:
When deciding how much to prune a tree, as little as possible is often the best rule of thumb. All prunes place stress on a tree and increase its vulnerability…
As I said, I think enough’s enough already!
I know I’m not alone in asking why God is allowing these things to happen. The writers of the Psalms certainly asked similar questions. I particularly like the Psalms of Asaph who said things like “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me” (Psalm 73:16) and “do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.” (Psalm 74:19b)
I’ve often heard it said that God doesn’t allow us to go through more than we can handle but the Bible doesn’t actually say that and it definitely isn’t true. He allows more than we can handle so that we learn to lean on Him and, in spite of my whining today, that’s exactly what I will continue to do! I’ll put one foot in front of the other, hang onto the hem of His garment, and wait to see how He’ll get us over this latest hurdle.
We have no idea what the next little while will hold. Dad will likely remain in hospital for at least a week or two where he’ll have access to physio and occupational therapy. The neurologist anticipates that he’ll make a fairly good recovery but we have no way of knowing when he’ll be fit to travel again, whether or not one of us will need to accompany him, or whether he’ll need a higher level of care than he had before.
Please God, no more crises for awhile. Enough already!