Tis the Season …

How I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was delightful, but I must admit that there were some sobering moments. Interestingly enough, I used the words and pictures below to end my last post … written as I was riding in the car on the way to my parents’ home in Texas. You may have seen them.  I chose the pictures because it’s Autumn … moving toward Winter … but the seasonal aspect has become even more poignant over the past week as I find myself in my own Autumn of life.

I am thankful for the consistency of the cycle of life … and the seasons …

… and whatever lies ahead.

In everything … in all circumstances … give thanks.
I Thessalonians 5:18
 
 
My parents, thank God, are in very good health and fully enjoying the early years of their seventh decade. Even so, much of the family’s holiday talk involved “life cycle” conversations. I consider ours to be a pretty average family for this day and time, so I wonder if perhaps you can identify. Did your Thanksgiving family talk sound at all familiar?
 
Laughter over the new discoveries and antics of the family’s great-grandchildren
Little Man and his Daddy were watching football when Little Man noticed a player’s mouth guard. “Look, Daddy. A man binkie.”
 
Prayers and concerns over the grandchildren
Life-struggling, job-searching challenges of young adults finding their way in life
 
Listening ears, encouraging words, and teasing for the children (my generation)
Hot-flashing, later-than-usual sleeping, empty nesters embarking on the next leg of the journey while understanding firsthand the realities of the “sandwich generation”
 
More prayers and concerns over the parents
My brother’s aging mother-in-law spent Thanksgiving in the hospital … and his family couldn’t be with us.  Renaissance Man was “on call” to help a friend tell her parents that they were going to have to be moved to assisted living; last week’s broken ribs for her Dad and broken wrist and hip for her Mom were the final straws.
 
And then this morning … we received the call that my mother-in-law had fallen — breaking her hip so badly that she required surgery … at age 92. And the sandwich generation changed their plans and drove three hours to the hospital to check on her … and to relieve Renaissance Man’s brother, exhausted from the late-night experience.
 
And so here I sit … in a hospital room in Texas. I’ve listened to agonizing moans as Winter-of-life words reached out: “I can’t live like this.” “It hurts so bad. Daddy, pleeease …” (Daddy – her husband – has been gone for 21 years.) Thankfully, the pain medicine finally brought comfort and sleep to the mother-in-law I’ve told you about HERE and HERE. Yet as I now watch her rest peacefully, I’ll admit to wondering. Just why IS she living like this? When is enough Enough? What purpose is there for a 92-year-old woman living in a nursing home with an ever-diminishing quality of life? Her eternity is secure, and she is so ready to leave this world and join Daddy. What a blessing that would be … and yet I am thankful that her Creator sees the big picture … and I can simply trust His infinite wisdom.
 
God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
 (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT)

And so, through each season of life, families gather … sharing laughter and grief, smiles and tears, prayers and progress.  For that, I remain thankful.

Wherever you find yourself today, I pray you can embrace the season as part of the cycle … and choose to express gratitude … whatever lies ahead.
 
I’ll be joining:
Blue Monday @ Smiling Sally
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
 
 

Comments

  1. Prayers flying. Praise The Lord that you aoo were close. Cherry Kay

  2. All in God’s time.

  3. God works. What a beautiful and (for me) touchingly meaningful post.
    Nancy

  4. Susan, We have gone through so many of those life struggles, too. It is heart rending to see our parents age and fail. My mother dies as a result of complications from dementia and my dad died after suffering through years of Parkinsons. God bless you- I feel for you having to endure this -especially during the Holidays. xo Diana

  5. Yes all the seasons of life. So, so sorry! Prayers for your mother-in-law and for full recovery and zeal for life again…in Jesus name. This Texas girl wishes you were close to me to come support you during this season.

  6. That’s a tough, tough question, Susan. I guess we do just have to trust in God and his wisdom. We often wonder why bad things happen to good people or why we are made to suffer in this life at all. We wonder why helpless little children and old people become victims of heinous crimes or accidents. We wonder why life as we know it is just so hard sometimes. And yet we trust. We trust that God has his reasons. I am so, so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law’s pain and agony. I hope that she somehow finds relief very soon. I just hate to hear about the elderly in pain. It breaks my heart a thousand times over.

  7. The cycle of life seems to have come here also, my Mom being 86 is having similar problems. She still lives at home with my single sister. We had 17 for dinner ranging from 9 months old to 86. Lots of fun, laughter, scrumptious food and memories made. The mountains in the background are so beautiful–our Son and family live in Colorado and they were here for Thanksgiving and back home now. Have a very good week
    Ann

  8. I understand how you feel, Susan. I will hold your family close in my heart and prayers.

    My mother is 84 years old, and it is difficult watching her age.♥

  9. I ask those same questions, and I have no wisdom to share. I can only advise you to trust God and His wisdom (as I know you will).

    Thanks for sharing.

    Happy Blue Monday, Susan.

  10. Oh, Susan, my thoughts and prayers are with you! I think a lot of your blogging friends are in a similar stage of life, so we wonder along with you how to best serve all the generations whose lives touch ours. Right this minute, no one is in imminent danger, but that can change in a heartbeat. And we are eagerly anticipating the birth of a granddaughter in December! Keep us posted, please.

  11. Wonderful post. Thanks for keeping it real. While I enjoy a beautiful tablescape as much as anyone, life is about way more than pretty tables. We too had those conversations this Thanksgiving; recent college grads wondering if they will ever find gainful employment, 30 somethings wondering how they can possibly survive this struggling economy all the while dealing with aging family members. At one point, my 22 year old daughter looked at me and said “I just realized that we have five generations in this room right now. You don’t see that very often!” We were blessed with family members from 5 months to 93 years old. We are so blessed and thankful indeed. I am praying for you and yours as you travel through this difficult season of life.

  12. I read this post with a catch in my throat and a continual nod of the head. I went from one “extreme” emotion to the other as I laughed over the Man Binkie and then cried with you over your mother-in-law.

    We are facing the same conversations and issues. My own mother, though I haven’t mentioned it, is not in the health she used to be. More often than not, she has to use a wheeled walker to get around. She keeps going and doing more than most could imagine, but still, it’s not fun for her to be so handicapped. Last week, my MIL was given an oxygen tank which she’ll have to use for the rest of her life. She was an active an vigorous woman, playing tennis at least once a week until she was 80. My husband’s heart is broken about it. That cycle of life is a sobering one.

  13. Ah, life. May God grant you strength and comfort and a heart of gratitude in the midst of confusion and discomfort.

  14. Stunning!

    My BLUE
    As always, your comment makes me giddy!

  15. hugs….. this is a wonderful post…. thank you!!! Flavia

  16. These pictures are amazing and beautiful!! What a wonderful post!! Thanks for sharing with us.

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