Ease is defined as:

  • freedom from labor, pain, or physical annoyance; tranquil rest; comfort;
  • freedom from concern, anxiety, or solicitude; a quiet state of mind;
  • freedom from difficulty or great effort.

Those who suffer with chronic illnesses are in a state of dis-ease. They have lost some of their freedom. This leaves a void for fear and worry to occupy and for faith to be tested.

My 60 year-old husband has been on disability for 5 years. He has a long history of serious health issues. Parkinson’s disease is the latest and most troubling.

Parkinson’s disease is the gradual degeneration of the nerve cells in the brain that control movement. As it progresses, simple tasks of daily living become more and more challenging. Things he used to take for granted like getting up from a chair, signing his name, smiling and getting dressed have become frustratingly difficult or impossible to do without help.

Parkinson’s changes the dynamic of a marriage from a partnership to dependency. As a caregiver, my life is altered in big and small ways.

Two years ago, our suburban ranch house with a large yard became too much to handle so we moved to a single-story patio home duplex where the lawn work and snow removal is done for us. We worked with the builder to incorporate a handicapped shower with a seat and grab bar, and larger doorways to eventually allow for wheelchair access.

We are exceptionally blessed to have the means to obtain things what he will need to live with Parkinson’s. We have long-term care and health insurance. I thank God for the abundance that makes this easier to bear, but I still mourn the loss of future I had envisioned.

Too often, I let fear overshadow faith. I fear his loss of intelligible speech, frequent falls, swallowing difficulties, being unable to walk or stand– all of these are starting to happen. While I try not to squander today by worrying, it is hard.

It is hard to be patient with someone who needs more time to get into a car, to walk or to eat. It is hard to hear the phone alarms that go unanswered when he doesn’t seem to hear the signal to take his meds. It is hard to see the blank stare where there once was a sparkle in his pale blue eyes. It is hard to watch someone you love decline in small perceptible ways, day by day. Treatments slow the deterioration but cannot stop it.

I just bought an engraved keychain as a daily reminder to ask for help from the one who promised to help me to carry my burdens. One side says “Worry Less” and the other, “Pray More.” That’s great advice that I often forget.

 I don’t yet have the strength that I will need for the harder moments to come. I believe that God will supply exactly what I need, when I actually need it, but not before. God wants my trust. He wants me to remember all of the past times when I felt inadequate for the difficult tasks at hand, but with His help ended up having more than I needed.

I am not a saint. Sacrificial love and serving with joy don’t come easily to me. Giving is not the problem; being cheerful about it is. I pray for the grace to abandon myself and my fears and my ideas for the future, and to cheerfully follow the plan God has for me

2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

#caregiver, #caregiving,#disease,#joy,#parkinsons,#trust,#worry less