We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

More Than Sisters

Labor Day, 1964 - Sarah & Barbara, ages 6 and 3
How did you relate with your siblings as a child? And now?

My Uncle Ed recently gave me an envelope of old photos I hadn't seen before. I don't have many pictures of me as a little girl, so as you can imagine, I treasure every one. I think this one is my favorite. 

Here I am, the big sister. Protective. Reassuring. I would always look out for my little sis. 

And now, we're in our fifties, both grandmothers. I'm still the big sister, I guess. But in reality, the years between us have disappeared. Though separated by miles and life experience, we're still two girls walking hand in hand, leaning on each other, reassuring each other, praying for each other.

Recent photo ( by Kim Passetti)
It seems we've partnered more the last few years as our parents have gotten older. Our sweet mom battled ovarian cancer for nearly two years before she slipped away from us. We miss her in different and similar ways all at once. Our strong dad just had triple bypass surgery. Our commitment to care for both of them has brought us together more often. I'm the daughter who lives nearby, drives the six miles almost daily to check in, and makes the calls or runs the errands. Barb, on the other hand, takes the train or plane all the way from Indiana to stay around the clock for several weeks at a time. 

We're as united as the photos show. I'm grateful for all Barb has meant to me over the years. I admire her commitment, her faith, her love for God's Word, her sweet spirit, and her willingness to sacrifice. I'm glad we look out for each other . . .

We're more than sisters. We're friends.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Perspectives On Aging

So, how do you feel about getting older?

As a child, I loved birthdays. I felt special all day long. My parents retold the stories surrounding my birth, and I never tired of hearing them. I realize now that they gifted me with much more than stories. They let me know how much they loved and valued me as a member of the family. I treasure those memories now.

Back then, I looked forward to getting older. Imagine! 

Recently we visited the home of a young couple. As we pulled into the driveway, the yellow house, the almost-finished barn, the garden patch, and the laughter of children all told a story. A story that brought out the melancholy side of me. I felt a bit wistful.

I remember when two little girls laughed and played inside our picket fence, when the tooth fairy stopped by on a regular basis, when young scientists littered the kitchen table with their projects. Young and strong, my husband and I worked hard to live out our dreams. 

How the years slip by . . .

We're not so young and strong anymore. Life has given us ample blessings to be sure, but realism has pushed our young idealism  to the side. With a lesser confidence, I find myself looking back and hoping we've pleased God in one way or another.

And in the midst of my unsettledness, I run across these words:
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree . . . Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him (Psalm 92:12-15).
It seems God's perspective on aging is a bit different than mine. While I'm not exactly "old," I have added mother-in-law and grandma to my list of names. "Bear fruit in old age . . . fresh and flourishing" brings my focus around to look forward with expectation. Perhaps to be a voice of experience to "declare that the Lord is upright," that He is a rock, an anchor of hope no matter where our life stories lead us.

I want to bring this promise with me as the years go by. How about you?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Day in the ICU Waiting Room

Today, I’m in the ICU waiting room at one of our local hospitals. I’ve been here for about five hours so far. My dad had triple-bypass surgery. I’m waiting to see him. 

This all came about rather suddenly. I took Dad to the ER Sunday night with left arm pain and chest discomfort. Nothing too bad. It came and went. Dad’s in good shape. He swims a half mile several times a week, takes care of his home, mows the lawn, does the yard work. He never smoked. How could he have three blockages?

My only sibling lives in Indiana. She wanted to be here today but decided she could help even more by coming to stay with him around the clock once he comes home. My mom, after a two-year battle with cancer, passed away two months ago.

So today, I rode the elevator to the second floor alone. 

I felt okay about it. I’m not one to ask people to rearrange their schedules. Besides, I had an article to finish writing and a good book to read. I knew many faithful friends were praying. After giving my dad a kiss and a squeeze (and fighting back a few tears), I found my assigned spot, prayed for the docs and for my dad, and got to work.

After an hour or two, I looked up to find a smiling face in the doorway. A dear friend came—on her only day off—to sit with me. It was wonderful to see her. Time flew as we caught up over hot drinks and granola bars. We laughed together, talked about our kids, and wondered about what the future held for both of us. Before she left, we prayed together. A sweet time in the midst of crisis. 

I’m still waiting, yet it’s been a grace-filled day.