The past few Christmases, with grown children and the ability to work at home, I’ve had the privilege of slowing down during December. I’ve used these weeks to prepare my heart and focus on gratitude and service. Advent devotionals like these from my alma mater, Dallas Theological Seminary, have brought me joy. Unlike when the kids were young, I awaken Christmas morning after celebrating a season, invigorated as I look toward a new year.
But I’m distracted now by the failing health of my 85-year-old mother. I’m writing this blog a few days early because I’m flying back to take her to a doctor’s appointment that will reveal the name of the illness consuming her. All bets are on leukemia.
She’s the sole caregiver for my 87-year-old father. The plot thickens.
They’ve been married almost 66 years and live independently. They worked hard to educate me. Their generosity, example and training are the foundation for my success; my children and I share their priorities, ethics and morals.
I normally fly back every other month to check on them. Lightbulbs need to be changed, cars need to be inspected, stories need to be told again and the psyches of a generation that put others first need to be soothed about world events (that I don’t understand any better than they do).
I spent more than two weeks last month with Mom and Dad because it’s apparent (at least to me—Dad’s in denial) that her situation is dramatic. I know the airline attendants flying in and out of my small valley by name. With deep winter coming, bringing heavy snows that will cover these mountains, it will be harder to love my parents through this difficult phase in the hands-on way they deserve and need.
Please pray for my family. For grace, gentleness and patience. For strength, wisdom and discernment. For the peace of Christ as we celebrate His birth.