Remember at the end of the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, when the lead character says something like "its funny how life works out but not the way we planned" and her co-star says, " oh but I think it did." He then proceeds to remind her that when he met her while selling her the house, she had three wishes for this house, to have love, a marriage, and start a family. Of course she meant for herself and in her mind at that point, none of it had come true although she was happy. However, what he saw was that her friend had come from America, had her baby, and stayed - a family was started. They were talking at the reception, at her home, of her very dear friend that she "mothered" who just got married to a neighbor girl - a marriage. And finally, he walks away and she sits down on a patio chair exhausted from the days events, and a foreigner, a Canadian or an American, walks up to her and asks if she knows the owner of the house and a spark is lit - love. The movie was based on a true story and I believe it demonstrates how often we overlook God in the details of our lives because he didn't answer our wishes or our prayers the way we intended.
This occurred to me today because as I was laying in bed this morning recounting my last few days, I realized three of my wishes may be coming true but not in the fashion I imagined. I have been praying about how to help my mom with my dad who is moving into a very dependent stage of Alzheimer's. They have been fiercely independent up to this point living in a rather large home with no help. She maintains a volunteer position, book club and luncheons with friends, and is now learning to manage the house and responsibilities, including the bills, like many 1950's wives had to learn late in life. We talked about moving in together, but the stress of my work, my daughter's ongoing health issues, and our financial instability seemed to not only prevent us from moving but also seemed to make my personal stress (and illness) even worse. (I wish I could quit my job for awhile or reduce it to a very minimal part-time status and just stay home in order for me to recover from what the doctor is calling PTSD symptoms based on our past 10 years of high stress.) In a similar prayer, I have been wanting to move out of this house. (That's actually how the topic of moving in together came up - I was telling mom that we were considering moving.) We moved here when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer, and for me, it will always be the cancer house. The fact that its dark and older, doesn't help, and in fact, adds to the depressingly lengthy repair list. This summer has been the worst drought and its taking a toll on everyone's housing structure. Our house has large cracks in the walls both inside and out that will need fixed prior to a sale. The list of repairs and cleaning that needs done prior to listing this house for sale is overwhelming. The easiest way, if possible would be to move out, fix it, and then list it....who can look beyond the dining room table in our Master bedroom since we turned the dining room into our daughter's first floor bedroom? As they say - "Its cheaper to keep her." We decided to fix what we could, as we could, and pray for what we couldn't do such as rain to level us back out (which we got that week and doors that were shut were magically able to open and close again!)
God is a puzzle doer, as in he likes to piece together the jigsaw puzzles of our lives. He has listened to my prayers, and many others, and pieces them together to help many. I don't believe he inflicts pain and suffering or disease on his children but I do believe that when disease occurs, he will try to help. I also believe you need to prayerfully ask for his intercession as he respects our freedom of choice. Its been my experience that it doesn't always get answered on my time line, but we are living on God's time, and his time is perfect....one must be patient. Nor does it always get answered the way I thought it should be answered, but again, if I'm patient, it seems his responses are much better than I thought. So it goes with my three prayers or wishes. On Monday, my mom called to tell me her Hematologist, told her that he suspects she has another blood disorder in addition to her current thrombocytosis or essential thrombocythemia - too many platelets. She has too much protein in her blood and will need a bone marrow biopsy next Monday to rule out or confirm multiple myeloma - too many plasma cells. She has been maintaining the other disease with a oral medication with very few side effects however, when reading up on this cancer, this one sounds like its the full deal - chemo, radiation, and possible bone marrow or stem cell transplant. She will no longer be able to live 45 minutes from the doctors, drive herself, and take care of Dad and the home. They must move and they must get help.
So back to the thought of moving in together. We live in a two story home and have already converted the dining room into a bedroom for our daughter....not ideal, but it was a necessity. In order to help mom and dad (wish one), we will need a new house - wish two - check and check. And we will need to hire help or have her pay me (a nurse) to stay home - wish three - check. I am scared to death that I can't do this both physically and emotionally. Not only is there research out there that shows that nurses who care for family at home in addition to working die younger, I'm not working with a great gene pool here folks! I'm a breast cancer survivor from my 40's, I had both maternal and paternal grandmothers have Alzheimer's or dementia at the very least, and I have my Dad's anxiety disorder. So in addition to all that, I have never kept a clean enough house for my parents and now they are going to live in our house with me cleaning it! I can cook but I get overwhelmed, like everyone some days, but my mom was Mrs. Cleaver who had everything prepared precisely at 5pm (without a microwave!) for my Dad to walk in the door and eat - table set with linens, at the very least placemats and I don't do that. I don't want their last years to feel like a living hell (humor). I know this is not what they will be worried about but it all adds stress. However, I digress from the main issue....
God has a plan. I believe he is answering my prayers to the benefit of my parents, my brother in Ohio (who won't have to worry), and to my family. The only one who seems to get a bad deal in this is my husband (although they say you marry the family), who was with me in looking forward to a quiet house with our last child leaving for college next month. No rest for the weary....we're the sandwich generation. Fortunately, he is a hospice nurse whose skills may come in handy in the distant future. May God bless him for being the Saint my mother (and his) always thought he was. As it is, he IS a VERY caring, Christian man, who serves others....I needed him 36 years ago when I met him in high school and still do today - another of God's blessings in my life.