My Sister’s Beautiful Smile
It is both with sadness and joy that I share that Elaine departed this life yesterday (1/5/16) to live eternally with the LORD and HIS saints. I have lost not only my sibling but one of my very best friends. She taught us much during her many struggles down a dark night of the soul. Now she can rejoice and rest from her labors. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
I have been posting this blog for about 3 1/2 years now with thousands of visitor views. Although viewer comments have been scant, I do hope my personal reflections on suffering have been helpful to those walking down similar paths. I am sure we all have much more to learn on surviving suffering.
With this post, comes an end to this particular blog’s era. Perhaps a blog with a different theme may evolve one day. With my sister’s overall progress so limited since her accident over five years ago, it has become difficult to even write about our story from positive prospectives. Responses to this tragedy could have been so different! However each person must decide whether to press forward or remain stuck in life.
I have experienced both losses and gains throughout this journey. However in summing up, I choose to dwell on the positives. Getting my first book published on a very personal subject, I see as a positive, overall. My choosing to move forward in personal therapy and group support, regardless of the circumstantial negatives, is another positive. Although my deciding to set appropriate boundaries with family and friends has cost me relationships, the most important one with my Heavenly Father has accelerated. I am an emotionally and spiritually healthier person now than when this blog began, choosing positive life choices by Yahweh’s mercy and grace.
I close by thanking those for taking an interest in our story. Hopefully some of the posts of these last years can be re-read to bring reminders to us all that one need not walk down a dark night of the soul alone. The LORD wants to walk it with you if only you grant Him that invitation. His presence is essential on the journey!
As the holidays approach, troubled families will gather together to spend time together. Will the celebrations be happy or horrid?
Unfortunately, dysfunctional relational dynamics often magnify themselves during holiday settings. Can one really win in such scenarios? If one attends the dysfunctional gatherings, one must ‘stomach’ the chaos. If one declines to attend the celebration, he or she is branded as ‘uncommitted’ or ‘distant.’
What is the best alternative for self/spouse/family in such unhealthy extended family dynamics? To attend or not to attend the event is the question. Here is a link (although I would have chosen a different article title, void of family wearing santa hats) that will hopefully shed light on the subject: https://news.faithlife.com/article/7370346.
Readers, make your best decision, prayerfully, and don’t look back. Peace supersedes celebration.
Jana (Elaine’s caregiver, far left) arranged for a musical entourage to serenade Elaine and her guests this afternoon. What a joy to hear vocalists, guitarists, and a keyboard player re-create the “oldies,” (music that is) in Elaine’s living room. We all enjoyed it and so appreciated these creative musicians taking the time to perform such a great concert for us.
Thank you, all!
“Life never turned out as I expected” can be heard from the lives of disappointed, troubled people.
With all the ‘curve ball’ and ‘hailstorm’ events of everyday living, life demands adaptability. The trite expression, “If life hands you a lemon, make lemonade,” applies to making the best out of the worse. It does not imply that one deny reality; it encourages one to move forward in the midst of harsh scenarios.
The last stage in the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross grief assessment speaks of acceptance. Grief entails a number of stages. However if one chooses not to accept loss, that person remains stuck in grief. Some enduring grief never embrace the acceptance mode. Perhaps self-pity, self-centeredness, attention-seeking or a combination of the three prevent acceptance.
Regardless of the reasons for it, getting stuck in grief also alienates the griever from his/her loved ones. The relentless ‘yes, but’ responses to an encourager’s admonitions of hope hinders healthy discussions and relationships. The griever can choose to overcome maladies with life adapting skills that combat even the most unpleasant of circumstances.
If a ‘new normal’ outlook cannot arise from the ashes of tragedy, that person chooses hopelessness and depression. There can be no moving forward without accepting the circumstances that one can never change. It demands reaching for a better life outlook. Cultivating a hope-filled life plan first comes with the decision to move positively forward.
Adaptability, a vital key to handling hardship, opens the prison doors of complacency to a new world of possibilities with hope abounding. It takes both courage and faith to make the transition, but what a better way to live!
Happy 30th Anniversary, Don & Elaine!
Last night we celebrated Don and Elaine’s anniversary and enjoyed the family celebration together. Their thirty year union, as of today, has stood the test of time despite great adversity. It has taken patience and dedication on both parties. Love overcomes any challenges if a married couple together chooses God’s path.
With the arrival of September 13th comes the fifth anniversary of Elaine’s horrendous accident. During the day before that evening’s tragedy, Elaine had enjoyed a good time with friends along with precious visiting time with our mom. Around 7 pm on her way alone to pick up dinner that night, a drunk driver suddenly rammed into Elaine’s van leaving her a quadriplegic. The months and years that followed ushered forth surgery, rehabilitation efforts, and many spiritual questions; coupled with much physical and emotional suffering as described in my book.
Now we have come to the five-year mark, and many obstacles have continued to plague us this past year: the very unexpected, sudden death of our mom; Elaine’s declining health and outlook, people, including relatives, bringing additional pain into our lives and more. In truth, it certainly cannot be said all has been neatly resolved these past five years. In some regards, circumstances have worsened.
In the midst of trouble, God has been strengthening my faith through the challenges. Most recently, my wife and I have been reading a book about and meditating on Psalm 91. In it Yahweh promises care and protection for His covenant children. Despite hardships, He is here to guide, direct, protect and love us. The promised troubles in this world that Yeshua spoke about must not overcome us. Trying circumstances lead His true followers into a more intimate relationship of running into His arms, not adamantly resisting His grace and love.
Are you overwhelmed? Please focus upon the biblical promises. If you are still breathing, your story is not yet over. Cry out to Him, get clean before Him and claim His promises.
As a minister told me years ago about unpleasant situations, “This too shall pass.” Believers around the globe are being refined in the fire of afflictions. In these afflictions, we truly must identify and reflect the image of Christ. Only our entrance into eternity with the Father will set our woes aright. Regardless of the pain of circumstances, we must get things spiritually right for our Redeemer cometh.