Thursday, September 6, 2012

Solving the little things

Amidst the flurry of the day, I dashed out to visit with Mom K at the Assisted Living Home. It had been an overfull day, and the headache from my illness still flared now and then. It was flaring as I hurried into the Home. Mom K was happy to see me however, and I wheeled her out to the porch where several of her kind lady friends were already gathered, watching the clouds. One of the workers had also just come off duty and sat rocking on the porch with us.

Mom K seems to be increasingly confused that my husband, her son Arvo, is her husband. And she is very upset with him that he goes out every night, certain he is off carousing instead of being where he belongs with her. But strangely, she knows exactly who I am, what I tell her from day to day, and even that I had not been there for a few days as I had been sick. So I told her I had to go to the drugstore, and did she need anything? I knew she had all her needs cared for but I felt it would be kind to ask.
"Yes, I do need the drugstore!" she said.
Oh-oh, I thought, she is thinking she is still living on her own in Florida and has to go stock up on toilet paper.
"I need an emory board," she said, "Look at these nails!"
She was right. She held out a hand with long daggers for nails. I guess I just didn't think about the fact that no one would be cutting her nails. So much that I do for myself, I take for granted. It is much harder than you would think to put yourself totally in the skin of another person and try to understand all they must go through when their life is so different from your own, their strength diminished.
"I will walk over there right now," I said, "You wait here with your friends and I will be right back."
I bought nail clippers and an emory board and returned. The ladies were all still rocking on the porch, watching the clouds.
"Ready for your manicure?" I said.
"I'd like a pedicure," said her friend, smiling at us as Mom K held out her neglected hands to me.
So while the clouds danced overhead, I trimmed Mom K's nails. Then I gave her the emory board.
"You would probably like to file them yourself, right?"
"Yes," she said.

I headed home after that, feeling very useful. It had been a somewhat frustrating homeschool day- so much to learn , to teach, in such limited time. So many areas we need to improve upon. So much responsibility and desire to do it right. And so often it seems I don't. I can't tell you how satisfying it was to discover a problem, deal with it, and solve it so neatly to everyone's satisfaction. All of us need to find someone who just needs their fingernails trimmed. Sometimes solving the little things reminds me that most problems are little things and they all can be trimmed away one by one. God reminds me of that so many times. He gave me a set of long fingernails and a cloud studded sky and a peaceful porch to quiet my soul and whisper, "You can do this. You can do everything I set before you. Trust me, do your best. Challenges, like fingernails are always growing before you, but I always give you the tools to trim them back."

Daniel 5:13-17 (NIV)
So Daniel was brought before the king, and the king said to him, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah? [14] I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. [15] The wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not explain it. [16] Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.” [17] Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.

1 John 5:3-4 (NIV)
In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, [4] for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

-save a dog-

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