What Thomas Paine once said, “these are the times that try men’s souls,” has never been so evident as it has been in my life over the last couple of months. It sort of began in August when the nursing home notified me that my husband was “non-responsive” and was running a fever. He had a kidney infection and, although he was not hospitalized, he was on an IV and a strong anti-biotic for a week or so. The next week, I missed half a week’s work with some kind of virus that was going around the office and my family.
The week after that, my husband ended up with the same infection and was hospitalized for four days so they could run tests. I stayed at the hospital the entire time so he would not be alone as he was confused and didn’t know where he was. While there, he had his third stroke (his first in 1977 while in a coma from a motorcycle accident that left him left hemiplegic, and his second in 2007 when he fell out the front door and landed on his head). He is back at the nursing home, but this last stroke has taken its toll on his cognitive skills—with his ability to recall information makes it difficult for us to carry on a running conversation. He can’t find his thoughts so just sits there unresponsive—and when it comes to carrying on a telephone conversation, forget it. I sure do miss my sweetheart and the long conversations that we use to enjoy together.
The week after that, I got that same virus back from another family member and missed another half a week’s work.
But that was just the beginning. A couple of weeks after all of that, I was in an automobile accident that almost totaled out my car. It was on a rainy evening, I had just picked my daughter up from work, we had enjoyed a good meal and I was taking her home when all of a sudden, out of nowhere a car, fleeing from the Police, was coming over into my lane. As I moved over to get out of his way, a car clipped the back of my car that turned me sideways across the median strip and across three lanes of busy traffic where I T-boned a car, completely tore down a road sign on the shoulder of the road and dragging it down into the ditch with me, I tore down a fence and ended up in the bushes. The miracle of it all is that, although my air bag did not deploy, neither my daughter nor myself received any cuts or bruises.
Wait! There’s still more. Two days later, I was going to meet my son-in-law at the tow yard to collect all my things from my car, but made a wrong turn and ended up in an unfamiliar area. I stopped in front of a home where they were grilling and family members were playing in the front yard. I asked two ladies who appeared to be about my age for directions, but I could not understand them. Before I knew it, the gentleman they were talking with told them he would show me the way and he was in my front seat before I knew what happened. He told me he had to hurry up because his expectant wife was in the hospital and he was going to see her. Well, without going into great detail—in reality, this man was a crack head, and my next three and one half hours were spent ushering him all over the place and into some of the most dangerous areas of our town as he went about his business of buying and using. Oddly enough, I was never afraid, and my main mission was to survive. Although he never actually threatened me, I knew from growing up around family members with an alcohol addiction, how quickly temperaments can change, and I wasn’t going to take any chances. By God’s grace, at the end of the day, I was given the opportunity to get away safely.
But that is STILL not the end of the story! Last weekend, I went to a local thrift store looking for a sturdy chair (with a padded seat) to use for doing my chair exercises, as my dining chairs are too hard and not high enough from the ground to allow enough room to swing my legs with my knee problems. Well, I found the perfect chair. As we were crossing the road (the store clerk was helping me take it to my car, and I was leaning on a buggy for support), the front wheels of my buggy rolled over the speed bump, the buggy flipped in the air and, because I was leaning with all my weight on the handle of the cart, I went down hard on my bad knee and landed face down in the middle of the street of the shopping center. So there I lay face down in the middle of the street, crying from the pain, knowing that I couldn’t get up on my own. Finally, two men came over and helped me to my feet—and there I sat (on my new chair) until I could get my bearings together to walk to my car. It’s been five days now and my left knee’s is gradually getting better, but is still completely numb and I have a skinned elbow.
Even though it’s been a rough couple of months, it’s not been all bad. And I’ve actually seen a lot of good come out of all of it as well: 1) I was out of work sick those two half weeks—but the rest was much needed. 2) I wrecked my car, but after the repairs were made, she looks like a new car. 3) And My daughter and I came out of it unscathed. 4) Although I was taken against my will—I've gained a greater compassion for those who live with this terrible addiction. Their life is "all about them" and getting their next fix. But, at the same time, I would, like to think that this young man came out for the better, as well, as he spent the afternoon with a Christian woman. I certainly did not condone his actions, but because I was non-judgmental and treated him with dignity, he was willing to listen to what I had to say. 4) At the end of the day, he got into a friend’s car, waved to me as they drove away, leaving me safely at a gas station.
I really don’t understand half of what happens in my life—I just keep walking in faith—knowing that I know (and am known by) the One who does. And He being the God who created heaven and earth. And that's enough for me.
So, how’s your week?