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  • Writer's pictureElisa Juarez

The Stuff of Life

August 6, 2021

There can be all kinds of activity whirling around us, but when a loved one is hurt, ill, or suffering we become laser-focused. The rest of our lives get blurry as new priorities rise to the forefront. I had a great idea for this blog post at the beginning of the week, but it fell into the background as my dad’s condition worsened. I've been laser-focused on my dad, and I don’t see that changing much in the coming weeks. Today I carved out some time to write and share a spoonful from the dish of real life. This morning I opened my devotional to these words: “When things seem to be going all wrong, stop and affirm your trust in Me. Calmly bring these matters to Me, and leave them in My capable hands. Then, simply do the next thing. Stay in touch with Me through thankful, trusting prayers, resting in My sovereign control. … As you trust in Me, I make your feet like the feet of a deer. I enable you to walk and make progress upon your high places of trouble, suffering, or responsibility.” My dad has had Alzheimer’s dementia for 8 years, and his physical health has remained strong. However, this summer he developed atrial fibrilation followed by low back pain, decreased appetite, and lethargy. Along with the physical changes came increased confusion and apparent depression. Together these have accelerated his overall decline, and I have been addressing every issue with his doctors and caregivers. What is really going on? What does he need? How can we help? What’s next? I am trying to keep my balance amid the changing tide, shifting sands, and saltwater stinging my eyes. As I navigate this challenge, I have family coming into town and a birthday cake to make. There are celebrations happening this weekend. We all need celebration, especially when we are feeling the weight of sadness. As I look around at my circle of friends and family, I celebrate that circle of love that is holding me up. As we give each other support, the threads are woven together into an unbreakable bond. We feel more sturdy and see things more clearly. For today I will “simply do the next thing,” step by step, trying not to get overwhelmed by the list in my head and the weight of care on my shoulders. This is the stuff of life. The Spirit within reminds me to let go and trust. This song by MercyMe moved me to tears: “I’m finding myself at a loss for words, and the funny thing is, it’s okay. The last thing I need is to be heard, but to hear what You would say….Word of God speak, would You pour down like rain, washing my eyes to see Your majesty; to be still and know that You’re in this place, please let me stay and rest in your holiness…” Almost everyone I know is carrying something heavy in their backpack. That’s why we need each other. Connection is crucial to our well-being. Reaching out a hand to someone in need can shift the rocks in our own load and help us to move more freely. We can walk side by side and encourage each other. The real, gritty stuff of life gets dished up to all of us; the question is what we do with it, how we carry it, and who we become in the process. I’m in “the season of grit and grace” as a friend pointed out, so I am keeping my face to the sun and my feet on the ground. I hold onto one of my dad’s mantras: “It’ll all work out.” Somehow. I believe that is what he would want me to remember right now. Grit & Grace, ej Elisa J. Juarez

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