To Quote My Dad

It’s been five days since my dad went under for laparoscopic surgery to correct a hiatal hernia.  We knew that the surgery would probably be minor, but the anesthesia concerned us from right out of the gate. My dad has struggled with memory loss for several years now. In recent months his confusion has grown, and we have found his connection with reality to sometimes lapse. It’s all been manageable, though stressful, certainly for my mom.

As expected, the surgery was minor, but the anesthesia was not. Daddy has been horribly confused in the hospital as the medication leaves his system. Because of this, we’ve tried to be with him as much as possible to ease his confusion and disquiet. Much of the burden has fallen to my dear mom, even through two long nights when the nurses struggled to reign Dad in.

Hard as it is to be the one who is always there, I have found it is also hard to be the one who cannot be there. I am almost 30 weeks pregnant, raising two young children, working part time, and volunteering for my church. I live almost two hours away from my parents. I’ve not been able to be there for the day to day care, not like I’d like to be. So I’ve fretted and stressed, cried and prayed, and I’ve gone home for several long days to provide some respite for Mom.

We thought that Dad would be discharged today to a care facility, which would dramatically reduce Mom’s need to be constantly present with him, but a last minute change in facilities to one better equipped to handle memory care has left us waiting still for him to leave the hospital. This means more long days ahead for mom.

This news came to me around supper time, as I was trying to finish making dinner and trying to unearth the table from all the junk collecting there so that we could eat. I was feeling frayed and frazzled. And then my pie crust wouldn’t unroll for the chicken pot pie. It fought me like a stubborn child! Ugliest pot pie I’ve ever made. And as the children and I worked to clear off the table, I spilled a large container full of (delightful!) water beads, all over my table, and of course, my dirty floor. And then, of course, you know it’s coming, I started to cry. Yes, the ugly pot pie and the spilled beads were the last straw on this camel’s back.

I collected myself as best I could, of course right as my husband is walking in the door, wide-eyed, wondering what is happening with his poor frazzled wife. We had our dinner. I refocused my mind on other things. And then I got a piece of chocolate out for something sweet for dessert. (My mother and I share the same weakness for Dove dark chocolates.) I rarely read the “promises” that are inscribed on the inside of each wrapper. I probably haven’t read one in over a year. But tonight I smoothed out the paper, and I read the words:

“Quote your dad.”

Thankfully, I was mostly cried out by that point. But I smoothed that wrapper out, and I hung it on my fridge. Dad has said a lot of really amusing things in his confusion the past few days, but over his 80 years, he’s also said a lot of really wise things. And so I pondered, what would Dad say to me in the midst of this trial if he understood what all was going on? It didn’t take long for the answer to come to me:

“We’ll take what the Lord gives us.”

Daddy has said theses words to me countless time over the years. No matter the circumstances, his faith-filled choice has been to take what the Lord gives. And so we will follow what he has faithfully taught us and lived out for his 80 years. We will take what the Lord gives us in this season.

Right now we are in the wilderness. Like David, like the Israelites, like Jesus himself. God has led us into the wilderness, for a purpose, and we will wait until he leads us out of it. We know that he alone sustains us. We know he has a purpose for our wilderness. And so we’ll take what the Lord gives us.