Sometimes people are wonderful – Say Thanks!

Sometimes people you know do things for you purely from love and kindness and empathy. Say thanks to them. Often.

Dear Nancy,

Your gift of these words,

“ YOUR CROSS – The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost Heart. This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His Divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His Holy Name, anointed it with His grace, perfumed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God.”

from St. Francis de Sales mean more to me than you can ever know. I read this over and over several times.

This journey that appeared in front of Cheryl and me – Parkinson’s disease – occasionally tears my heart to shreds. At first, in the early years, she was the same as the girl I married many years ago. Recently, over the last two to three years I can detect a combination of mental deteriorations that often sadden me to the point where I get a powerful feeling of overwhelming dread. Lately I am greatly concerned that it will be beyond my ability to care for her in the not-so-distant future.

“… not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you.” Believe me sincerely when I say that I wish I had your deep unbridled faith in something beyond you. And thank you for believing that I have that same faith.

I experience a wide range of emotional feelings mostly centered around caring for Cheryl. Sometimes it borders on depression. Sometimes I feel genuine rage and anger. Sometimes I envy others’ perceived good health. Sometimes I am deeply disappointed that Cheryl and I cannot do many of the things we used to greatly enjoy – she and I used to hike long distances in the woods, for example. And then sometimes I will read a story, essay or prayer such as the one you sent me which calms my heart. The essay or prayer will bring me back to earth and re-establish life’s meaning.

There’s a little story in your downstairs bathroom about foot prints in the sand. I am thinking of that now as I have re-read your card for the umpteenth time today and I listen to Cheryl talk to herself in the next room while she works on a sewing project for the grandsons for Christmas. (Her good periods are short and come and go quickly.)

I have come to believe that my purpose in being is to care for Cheryl and to fend off those who would take advantage of her weakened mind and frail physical condition. I probably take on too much responsibility for success or failure in that regard. I have not opened my heart completely someone beyond me to help with that. I admire your ability to find strength in your faith. I have not found that yet. Perhaps one day, but, for now I am still working on it.

Thanks once again for thinking of me and pointing out that He never gives one too much to bear.

Paul

Giving thanks to someone is humbling. And, though, I do not often use the phrase – I am blessed – My sister-in-law, Nancy, is there to remind me that I am in fact blessed but then she has been though a similar experience. She has the wisdom of hind sight and has chosen to look forward.

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