Saturday, June 13, 2015

Facing Dark Clouds and Shadows by Ruth Smith Meyer

When dark clouds loom behind us casting their shadows on our lives, how quickly our minds dart to what we think may be coming. Something happens, something like we’ve seen before, or that we have experienced or heard about and our minds jump to conclusions and begin to come up with a way to cope with what seems reality.  We begin formulating a plan of action.
It seems to me, that since I have begun to write with more intention in the past twenty years, that kind of reaction is becoming more and more automatic—especially when difficulties arrive.  I begin to “write” different scenarios to ready myself for what I may need to face. Only then can I relax, turn it over to Someone much more capable and then wait patiently for the next moment, day or week to show me what the genuine reality will be.
Only now, at this very minute did I remember a favourite saying of my dad’s and I decried it as being way too negative. “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”  Like it or lump it, maybe I’m a chip off the old block.
On the other hand, I had a very good teacher. Mr. Simmonds, at what was then Toronto Bible College, who told us if there was something we feared, it was best to turn toward it, face the worst reality, then ask ourselves “If it really happened, what would I do?”
Then we could deal with it instead of letting shadows of the unknown pursue us while the terror only increased. Over the years, I have found that very valuable advice.  Maybe Dad and Mr. Simmonds weren’t that far apart.

Just recently, I found myself in a spot where I wanted to flee.  My dear husband one Sunday afternoon began to display some signs of a stroke. When I decided he needed to go to emergency, I found he couldn’t even stand.  That raised more fears, for he’s been living with tumors inside his spine for several years now.  Radiation and chemo have kept them from raging out of control, but they’re still there and seem to want to keep growing. An acquaintance of ours also has tumors in her spine and about a month or two ago, woke up one morning no longer able to walk. With all that in my mind, I called an ambulance. They got him up on his feet, but he was unable to move them off the floor.
As I followed the ambulance to the hospital, I resisted running from the specter of having to place him in a long-term facility, our days of living together over, because I would be unable to care for him on my own.  Instead, I turned around and faced the dark cloud.  “Lord, you’ve blessed Paul and me so abundantly, giving us love and companionship that are over and above anything we could have imagined for this time in our lives.  Thank you for that.  You have given us miracles along the way during our journey with cancer, and I know you can continue to do that.  But if there’s a big change in front of us, a sharp turn in the road, I know you will still be with us and help us make the most of whatever time you give us. You’ll help us face any new reality that appears.”
 As I waited for them to call me into the examining room, I continued to pray.  They finally came calling for Grace Meyer—Paul had told him that was my name.  Other information he had supplied was not as it really happened.  My heart sank a bit. All the tests they proceeded to take showed only a raging bladder infection—manifesting itself in a much different way than any he’d had up to now.  His continuing inability to walk, made them decide to keep him in for CAT scan and MRI.
Monday, he was much the same, sleeping most of the time and still quite confused.  When I arrived Tuesday, he was sitting up looking much better.
“Did you bring my walker?” he asked.  
            “Paul, I don’t think your walker is going to be of much help to you right now,” I gently informed him.
“I suppose not.  I guess I can just keep on with the one they brought in for me this morning.”
I gasped in wonder—“You walked?”
“Yes,” he replied defensively, “Just to the nurses’ station and back.”
“No, no!  That’s good!” I assured him.  “I was just so surprised.  Don’t you remember that you couldn’t walk on Sunday night?”  Tears of relief and thankfulness came to my eyes.  “Thank you, thank you Lord.”
He only faintly remembered. 
“Maybe I should ask now who Grace is?”
“You told the nurses that was my name.”
“Where would that have come from?” he wondered.  “I never even knew many people by that name.” His momentary speculation soon turned to his usual humour. He began calling me Ruthie Grace, poking fun at himself.  I had my Paul back again.

We don’t have all the results yet, but our lives are back to the normal we’ve lived with for almost ten years.  Yes, the shadows are still there in plain sight, but there’s plenty of the sunshine of God’s love too, we’re together and we rejoice every day. There’s sweet success in living a day at a time, finding blessings and goodness that the shadows only enhance.  


Lux G. said...

The last sentence just stood out to me. Lovely message.
Keep the faith!

Peter Black said...

Thank you and thank you again, 'Ruthie Grace'!
Your testimony of growth and trust in your recounting this episode of your lives together and your love for each other is faith-building and provides food for to strengthen others in our spiritual walk. May God's richest blessings be multiplied to you both. ~~+~~

Carolyn Wilker said...

Thanks for your post, Ruth. A helpful reminder of facing the storm and trusting. Hoping that Paul has some better days ahead again. Missed you at conference too.


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