"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Elsie & Eleanor

Christmas is soon.  Less than two weeks.  I've been getting things in order and buying more gifts than Eleanor could possibly ever need or want.  Drew and I have had fun planning and buying for her this year.  (In related news, my delivery man probably thinks that I have an Amazon addiction.)  She's still little, but she's finding wonder in all things Christmas and her joy is contagious.  What a blessing that has been to my heart in the last couple of weeks.  Knowing full well that the gifts are not the highlight of Christmas, Drew & I have really enjoyed being able to provide these things for our daughter. 
I'm failing miserably at taking photos lately.  For one, I'm busy.  For another, Eleanor is fast & impatient, so 9 out of every 10 photos I take of her turn out blurry.
In our community group we have been reading a book about being a fan of Jesus versus being a follower of Jesus.  Hint: if you call yourself a Christian then you are called to be a follower of Christ. Truth: being a follower is hard.  Being a fan is easier, but, if we are being honest, most of us fall into this category.  I know that I do.  I say my prayers and go to church, but I also like to do things my own way.  I often fail to make God a priority and only offer him what is left over of my time & energy.  Since becoming more aware of this, I've been making a conscious effort to be more intentional in my walk with  Christ.  One way that I'm doing that is by starting my day with the word of God.  Right now I'm doing this with a simple daily devotional book.  It doesn't take long, but it does require me to make a decided effort to follow Christ.  On Monday the scripture was about planting seeds of hope.  I wasn't sure exactly how I was going to do that, but I took note of the task and went on with my day.  On that particular day, my tasks included visiting Grandpa at the rehab facility. 
I nearly always take Eleanor with me when I visit Grandpa.  It's a bit stressful for me to keep her wrangled and not disturb the other residents, but I know that Grandpa enjoys seeing her and many of the other residents do, too.  She loves to walk up and down the hall and say "hi" to people (she also tells people "NO!" when they get too close or speak to her).  Ah, toddlers.  There is one woman who is always wondering around the halls in her wheel chair.  Sometimes she is sitting at the door when I arrive, sometimes she's scooting up and down the hall, but she is always mumbling to herself.  In the week and a half since Grandpa's been in the facility, I've never heard her say anything that made sense to me.  I always smile and say hello, knowing full well that there will be no eye contact or acknowledgement on her end.  On Monday I was standing by the nurse's station while the aides helped Grandpa to the restroom.  Eleanor was examining the Christmas tree and here came our white haired friend, shuffling her feet to propel her chair down the hall.  As she approached us, Eleanor stopped and took notice of her.  As the distance between them narrowed, something really cool happened.  Eleanor watched her intently, took a few steps toward her, and then this woman began to sing Jingle Bells.  Eleanor smiled and instead of yelling "NO!" and running away, she followed her new friend.  This made my heart happy and I decided to let Eleanor follow.  Then I noticed that the nurses were standing up from their desks and watching.  "Is that Ms Elsie singing?" they asked with surprise.  Eleanor continued down the hall as Elsie sang Jingle Bells from start to finish and then started over again.  At one point Eleanor caught up and stopped just in front of the wheel chair.  Without skipping a beat, Elsie swerved and went just around Eleanor's feet.  I heard the nurses whispering to each other about that and I just smiled.  Somehow Elsie, who is seemingly oblivious to what is happening around her, was minding Eleanor and taking care to not run in to her.  They went to the end of the hall, made a U turn and then came back.  At times Eleanor walked beside her and other times she walked behind and "pushed".  Elsie sang to Eleanor the entire time, only stopping her singing long enough to recite a prayer.  When they got back to the nurse's station, Elsie turned down another hall and I stopped Eleanor so we could go back in to Grandpa's room.  As Elsie scooted away, I could hear her mumbling again. 
God's cool like that.  All I did was start my day with a willingness to do what God asked of me.  I didn't know what to do or how to do it, but I showed up.  Then God took over.  In the midst of a place & situation that feels a bit hopeless to me, those few minutes of togetherness between Elsie & Eleanor sewed a seed of hope in me.  God is good. 

As for Grandpa, he's okay.  Today he told me that a stray dog slept with him last night and he thought it was probably Foose.  He was super tired from an hour of therapy before I got there, so we let him lay back down and I thought a nap might help him.  Back at home and not long after I laid Eleanor down for her nap, my phone rang and it was from Grandpa's number.  (He has his cell phone so he can talk to my Uncle Matt & his sister Wilma.)  I'm not used to seeing his number lately, so I answered with a bit of fear.  It was Grandpa on the other end and he said, "Mandy, did you want me to come to your house tonight?"  I tried to explain that he needed to stay in rehab and I would see him tomorrow, but he didn't understand and said, "So I should just go back to the apartment then?"  I did talk to the therapist that happened to be in the room with him, so I know he's okay, but he's confused.  My heart hurts for him and all I can do is continue praying for God's will to be done. 

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