Saturday, February 21
Read Psalm 42
I say to God, my rock, why have you forgotten me? (v 9)
Tom, my 74-year-old husband, has Parkinson’s disease. He’s had it for quite a while, but it wasn’t diagnosed until five or six years ago. Now that I know more about the disease, I can see symptoms that go back long before the diagnosis.
Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological condition that affects different people differently. In my husband’s case, the most damaging effect has been loss of mobility. He doesn’t have major tremors like many PD sufferers, but he can barely walk — or even stand — without assistance. He often says he has “no legs.” He also has Parkinson’s-generated dementia. It’s not severe, and it’s not like Alzheimer’s, but his mind is disorganized and childlike in many ways. He’s not living at home now; he’s in an assisted living community where nurses are on duty 24/7.
Last April, he had a stroke. It wasn’t the worst possible kind of stroke, but it left him with speech difficulties and little use of his right arm and hand. It’s hard for him to feed himself or dress or use the bathroom. Add that to the Parkinson’s and … well, you get the picture.
This is a man who just recently said to me, “I used to be king of the hill, and now I have to beg for everything.” Once king of the hill — but now he needs somebody to cut his meat, help him shower and make sure he takes his pills on time. He is physically unable to use a cell phone and cognitively unable to use a computer. He can’t drive, has no money or credit cards at his disposal, no legal ID other than a passport (and he’s not going anywhere). Is it any wonder that he sometimes feels useless and forgotten? The loss of power and dignity can be overwhelming. Where is God when we need him? Does our God remember to dress lilies of the field but forget to notice the suffering of his people?
It seems like that sometimes.
And then, just when we feel forgotten and alone, God sends some earth angels to comfort and support us. One of Tom’s earth angels is a Lutheran pastor who offers a weekly worship service with communion at Georgetown, where Tom lives. This worship service is a red-letter event in Tom’s week. Having that service means so much to him, and not just the liturgy and sermon — he and his fellow worshipers want communion! Sharing the Eucharistic meal together reminds this small group of believers that they are not forgotten; they are beloved children of God, marked by the cross of Christ forever.
[Yesterday |Lenten Index | Tomorrow]