Today, a friend prayed that I would have some word from my faraway girlie. I came to my computer right after she prayed and found that Rachel had updated her private blog. She had told me that I could put a link to it on my Xanga site.
Monthly Archives: February 2011
It snowed last night in Delaware. I woke up around 2:30 and looked out the window at the broad expanse of white and figured this day would be different than expected. Certain Man, awakened from his sleep at his wife’s insistence, grunted and said, “It will probably be a two hour delay,” and turned over and went back to sleep.
In the pre-dawn silvery darkness, I got up and followed him down to do the morning check of ladies and to check who is going where. The cold and the snow are so different from last week’s spring-like weather. I turn to google to see what is happening in the town of Youngest Daughter today.
Weather for Bangkok, Thailand
Wind: S at 5 mph
It’s Monday morning, and John, (Certain Man’s Amish Friend) is here to work on the living room that we are in the middle of remodeling. He is pleasant, easy to have in the house, and really good at what he does.
His presence in the house reminds me of a situation that Daniel overheard over a decade ago when he was doing the plumbing for a housing development near Magnolia. The developer was an old Nazarene minister who had fallen from grace, made many, many decisions that caused untold grief in the community, but came back to The Father with all his heart in his later years, deeply regretting the havoc he had wreaked with his foolishness and sin.
Reverend Bailey hired Amish workman whenever possible, and they were comfortable in his presence. (Sometimes he lamented that they didn’t appreciate his generosity and benevolence. He often gave free food, and was prompt in paying them, but, for some reason, the fresh produce from their gardens that he so greatly desired, almost never showed up.)
This particular day, some of his Amish workmen were in a squabble of some sort. It was getting more and more heated. It seems it happened often enough that Rev. Bailey was troubled by their lack of Christian charity towards each other, and finally decided to intervene.
“Come on, now, Brothers,” he said with gentle amiability. “Let’s remember. It takes more than growing whiskers to get to Heaven.”
Our Girl Nettie’s “Bee in Her Bonnet” has continued to buzz.
On Wednesday they called me from center and said that she was having some difficulty — had I seen anything at home? I said that she’d been sick, and seemed lethargic, but not anything psychotic.
It turns out that she had been saying to them that the police were looking for her because she flew those airplanes into those two buildings in New York City. (!) I said that I hadn’t heard anything about it, but that she had been sick, maybe that was affecting how her medication was metabolizing. They said that she had been exhibiting anxiety already last week before she was sick, and that even though it wasn’t the airplane business, it was still that the police were looking for her. She couldn’t tell them before why it was that she was a person of interest, but finally settled on what she had done. Poor Girlie. She must have felt such torment! I told them that I would talk to her.
When she came home, she seemed pretty normal. ( Over the course of the evening, we had several conversations which pretty much boiled down to the following exchanges.)
“How are you, Nettie?”
“Aw, I ‘unno . . . I’m Depwess.”
“What are you depressed about, Nettie?”
“Aw, I jus sor’a’ sad ‘bou’ wha’ I done . . .”
“What did you do?”
“You know. How I run ’em airplanes in ’em buildings and kill all ’em people in New York.”
“Nettie, that wasn’t you! You didn’t do that!”
“No, you didn’t. Besides, the people who did that are dead. Every single one of the people in the airplane died.”
“Yes, they did. It was a suicide bomber, and every single person died. You are alive so you couldn’t have done it.”
“–a’s wha’ you fink.”
“That’s what I KNOW.
“–en why are ‘uh police lookin’ fer me?”
“They aren’t looking for you, Nettie.”
“Yes, –ey are.”
“No, they aren’t.”
“–a’s wha’ you say, bu’ I know –ey are!”
“Nettie, you don’t have your pilot’s license. How could you be flying a plane? They wouldn’t even let you on the plane, probably, much less fly it!”
That made her laugh and duck her head. Then she looked up, almost defiantly, “–en why is my head tellin’ me ‘–at I done it???” She grabbed her newly cut hair and pulled it miserably.
“They must have cut off all your sense when they gave you a haircut,” I said, laughing. “Besides, Nettie, your heart is too soft. You couldn’t have killed all those people!”
“Oh, yes, I could!” She said, beaming proudly.
“Oh, no, you couldn’t. You couldn’t even kill a cat, much less a whole bunch of people!”
She snapped to attention. “Wha-‘ you say?!?!?!?!?!”
“I said your heart is too soft. You couldn’t even kill a cat, much less people.”
“O-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h!” she said, turning away, “Doan’ you be talkin’ about ‘at again.”
“Ain’ ‘at uh troof!” she said. And laughed.
I know, I know. It’s been over a week. The murmurs of complaint have begun to trickle in. The thing is, I have some great stories from this week, but I just haven’t had time to put them out. Even this posting will lack the “polishing” that I like to give my stories, but maybe some of you can enjoy it anyway!
The other day, I took My Sweet Mama to Cambridge for her yearly endoscopy. It is a trip that neither of us like very much, but are always glad when it is over. This year, we had the best news yet. “I really don’t see any need in dragging her over here so often,” said Dr. Moran. “She’s doing wonderfully, and I think you can easily wait two years for your next visit!”
WHEW! What an incredible relief, not only to Mama, but to all of us. I was tickled beyond relieved, and Mama and I were both rejoicing as we aimed our car towards home. Problem was, about ten miles out, a tractor trailer pulled out in front of me and if I hadn’t slammed on the brakes, I would have hit him “right in the middle of his daily duty!” (To quote an old Laurel and Hardy Movie line) But I digress. Anyhow, the old geezer pulled out in front of me, and I was without my trusty GPS, so I was trying to read my google driving directions backward and took a wrong turn. It didn’t look right, exactly, but Mama and I were chatting and the next thing I knew, I was desperately lost. I drove and drove and finally saw a sign that said, “To Route 50” and that sounded vaguely familiar, so I went happily along until I came to a parting of the ways. One of the directions went to Salisbury. One went to Cambridge. I had just been in Cambridge, some 30 minutes or so before, so I didn’t want to go there. Right? So I turned to Salisbury. Wrong! I drove and drove and drove. There began to be tidal waters of some sort, and a long, lonely bridge.
Mama, ever trusting and trying to see the best of it, spoke of beautiful scenery and nice houses. I worried, but tried to make light of the sinking feeling in my stomach. Eventually there came a sign that said, “Salisbury: 15 miles. Okay. This was all wrong. I found an opening and made a U-turn. And drove and drove and drove and drove until I was almost back to Cambridge. You would think they would put some gas stations along there where a gal could stop and ask directions, but NO! Just miles and miles of nothingness. I kid you not. So eventually I got back to the outskirts of Cambridge where I could get route 16 and that took me to the road I wanted, which brought me back to the very crossroads where I made the fateful turn, which I was able to get safely through to the other side without yielding to the turn (which pulled me with all its might, because after all we had been through together, looked familiar!). And so, we came on home.
When I called Certain Man to complain of my great miscalculations and misdeeds, he laughed! And said, “You might just as well have gone on and come home by Route 13. That would have been a whole lot quicker!”
“I know that now,” I wailed, “but I kept thinking the way out would be right around the next corner, until suddenly I was all the way back to Cambridge!” And of course, he laughed again.
And then I called Middle Daughter, whom had been informed that I would “be home shortly” just before I made the wrong turn, and she had the audacity to say, “Mom, you would have gotten home sooner if you had just gone on to Salisbury and come home on 13!”
“Daniel Yutzy, Junior,” I said with feeling. “That’s exactly what your Daddy said. I know that now. But I didn’t then!” And of course, I had to blame her just a little because she has commandeered the GPS for her Hospice Nursing calls, and I just didn’t feel like fetching it out as I was leaving home when I’ve been to Dorchester General Hospital five or six times over the last five years. I had my Google driving directions, and any simpleton should be able to follow them backwards to get herself home again. Right. Anyhow. I didn’t have trouble with being sleepy on that particular journey.
But the day was actually redeemed by a happening in the waiting room on the third floor. And that story went like this:
Mama and I rode the elevator up to day surgery and she was taken right back to prepare for surgery. Just ahead of her was a Downs Syndrome girlie, who appeared unable to speak. She was there with her mother who was very elderly, had a walker, and didn’t seem to be following things very well. She also had an aide of some sort that was helping her and bringing her mom along as best she could. They called me back after Mama was prepped, and I heard some of the exchanges in the bed that held the girlie with Downs Syndrome, and it appeared that she was doing pretty well in spite of having some anxiety over the needles and preparatory procedures.
After Mama and girlie had gone back for surgery, we were all waiting there in the room until the doctors came out to speak to us. There were quite a few people in the waiting room. Some were quietly sitting, others were engaged in animated conversation, some were reading. Believe me, it was the usual motley crew and I learned some things that I would have just as soon not heard. There was a pair of guys talking, both probably my age or so, who were about as typical “redneck” as you could find. I read awhile, and then looked up to see the doctor for the Downs Syndrome girlie come out to talk to her mama. He said that things were going well, and that the girlie was getting awake and that there were no surprises, he expected that she would soon be good as new, etc. The mother asked a few confused questions and then the doctor left.
Another gal across the room who also looked a little bit challenged said to the mother, “What sort of procedure did your daughter have done?”
“A D&C,” said the mother. (For the unlearned, “female problems.”) The mother started talking to the aide, then, voicing concern about the girl and wondering why it was taking so long to wake up.
“She’s okay,” the aide reassured her. “The doctor said that she was doing okay, and she’s getting awake. She’ll be fine.”
The mother continued to voice worrying thoughts. She seemed concerned about whether the daughter was going to be traumatized by the events of the day, and the aide continued to comfort her, and reiterated that she thought the girlie was going to be okay.
Across the room, taking this all in, was one of the older fellows. Gray hair was sticking out below his baseball cap, and a beard bedecked his pleasant face. He had on jeans. His friend had left to take someone home, and he had been viewing the waiting room like he was looking for a chance at another interesting conversation. He jumped in with both feet.
“She’ll be okay,” he said, smiling at the old woman. “T’ain’t nothin’ to it, really. I had that same procedure yesterday, and I don’t remember a thing. Last thing I remember was signin’ my name on the dotted line, and then I got awake, and I was passin’ gas — ” he laughed a little uncomfortably, and said, “(Ya’ know, they want you to do that before they let you go) and that was all there was to it. She’ll be okay. She won’t remember a thing!”
I did NOT laugh.
I promise you, I did not laugh.
At least, not then.
Okay, I might have smiled behind my magazine. And I’ve gotten some mileage out of it since then, but I didn’t laugh then at the poor misguided fellow.
Our Girl Nettie has had a bee in her bonnet for the past couple of weeks. Her hearing aids aren’t working right, and that has necessitated me speaking more loudly to her. And she never wants something when a given person is in the area — it seems like whenever something needs heard, the person she’s addressing is across the room, and she can’t hear them.
“–Can’t hear wha’cha sayin’,” she’ll say and lumber over to where I am, working her mouth in all directions as she tries to form the words. I repeat and repeat and repeat — and I have to ask her to repeat and repeat and repeat because, if the truth be told, she is very troubled by Seasonal Affective Disorder and when she get depressed, her speech becomes even more garbled. And her paranoia rears its ugly head with a vengeance. We are pretty much right there, right now.
This past week, maybe because I’ve done more “hollerin’–” (HAD TO) she got in her head that I was upset with her. Numerous times she has come to me with “Mare-Ann. I wanna’ ass you sumppin’-“
“What’s that Nettie-girl?”
“I wanna’ know. I juss get the feelin’ that you’re mad at me ’bout sumppin’.”
“No, Nettie, I’m not mad at you. Why do you think I’m mad at you?”
“I dunno’. I juss get the feelin’ that you’re upset ’bout sumppin’.”
I reassure her, make a joke about it, try to tell her that maybe it’s because I’ve been trying to talk louder, so she can understand, and she usually is able to laugh and go back to her business, but it seems like a very short time and I hear, “Mare-Ann. I wanna’ ass you sumppin’-” — and we are back to the same old, same old all over again.
The problem is, it doesn’t take too often of someone thinking you’re mad at them to feel just a little irritated.
And couple that with a few other irritations, I’ve been trying hard to hang on to my patience.
This morning Josh preached about our expectations and how our expectations affect how we look at other Christians, and how our expectations are what motivate us, not only in ordinary living, but in the spiritual realm, as well.
I had a child on my lap most of the sermon, preventing me from taking notes, but it sure didn’t prevent me from listening and pondering. And (as usual) I’ve gotten more than enough to think about. The thing is, Nettie has been really needy this afternoon. I think she got me off my chair at least three times to “help” her solve problems that could have waited — or to ask me questions about when she should do something. (It doesn’t matter how often I tell her that it doesn’t matter when she “gets the paper” or “feeds the birds” or “gives the birds fresh water” or “takes her shower” she still wants me to set a time for her to do those things.)
I’ve been guilty of saying things like, “I think you should probably give the birds fresh water around three o’clock. That way it would be done.” Or, “Probably 7:30 would be a great time for you to take your shower. That way you can get your hair dried before you go to bed.” Or, “Why don’t you feed the birds around four thirty tonight. That will be before supper, before it gets dark, before things are too finished for the evening.” I say those things when it doesn’t make a hill of beans difference when she does any of those things. And I don’t know why it irritates me that she can’t just follow, “Whenever you want to do it, Nettie. If you feel like doing it now, that’s fine. If you want to wait until later, that’s fine.” Even when I go into long explanations like, “You know, Nettie, why don’t you break up your afternoon a little. When you get tired of sitting on your chair, watching television, just go and feed the birds. It really doesn’t matter at all. You are a big girl. You can do what you want. And if you don’t want to, that’s fine, too.”
That really throws her off. I guess she sits in there and nearly drives herself to distraction, trying to figure out what she really should do. Whether I really want her to and just won’t say it, or if I really think she shouldn’t, but don’t want to say so, or maybe she thinks I think she doesn’t want to, but she really does, or maybe she thinks I just say what I say because I think she wants to and I’m just making it hard for her.
Most of the time, I can just let it go and not worry about it. Most of the time, I realize that she does the best she can with what she has, and even though it sometimes seems to me that she is looking extra hard to find somewhere to remind me of where I am coming up short, yet she is probably just being Our Girl Nettie. And most of the time, Nettie is delightful. She truly is my friend, in spite of the circumstances that brought her to our house. I love her dearly, and believe that God has a plan here for her, yes, but also for us. I learned a long time ago that sometimes the hardest people that God brings into our lives haven’t been put here for us to “help” them, but rather it is GOD doing a work in our hearts to bring about His Image in us. And if we “help” them? Well, that’s only by the Grace of God.
Tonight I realize that I have the hardest time dealing with the “inconveniences” that come into my life when my expectations turn out to be unrealistic. I think Josh pretty much made the point that some expectations are fair, normal and needed. I couldn’t agree more. But sometimes we expect things of people that they just cannot give, and holding them to our expectations only results in frustration on both sides. So how do we set realistic expectations that result in mutuality in relationships, satisfaction in the exchanges we have with others, and keep us from looking down on people when we realize they aren’t capable of meeting the expectations we have?
I’ve said it before, so you don’t have to keep on reading if you don’t want to. The truth is, we are all handicapped before the Father. When He looks at us poor mortals, there is certainly a lot less discrepancy in ability between me and Nettie than there is between me and Him. How can I expect Him to look upon the many things I do that “inconvenience” Him with any mercy at all, if I can’t do that for Our Girl Nettie?
And then I read over what I’ve written here and realize how very trivial all the offenses are and how out of proportion my reaction!
And so I raise again the white flag of Surrender. There is no other way.
It’s raining in Delaware. I happen to love rainy days. (I know, I know. Those of you who read my blog with any consistency know that I love rainy days and Mondays and being snowed in and all those things.)
Today, though, it feels like it is raining a monsoon in my heart. This Momma’s heart is incredibly heavy for a number of reasons. I stood at the back door, looking out, and realized that I didn’t even know where to look if I wanted to look towards Thailand. Well, I know not to look West, but our house sits very strangely when it comes to directions. To tell the truth, I hardly even know where to look when I want to look towards Philadelphia or Holmes County, Ohio. Oh, I have a very general direction, but I like to know that I’m beaming prayers in the exact right direction . . .
And that stops me cold.
I know what direction to beam the prayers.
It doesn’t matter where those kids of mine are, the place to beam the prayers is Heavenward.
I can do that.
And knowing that, my heart is comforted.
And the monsoon in my heart turns to a gentle, life-giving patter.
“Lord Jesus, hold the people I love in your tender care, giving them strength for this particular day, courage to live Godly, wisdom to choose the right, and your love for their fellowmen. Remind me once more that your hands reach where mine cannot, and that you love them more than I do.”
Stored in my mind bank,
the memories sneak out–
And wrap themselves around my heart
And warm me in this season of winter.
Ah, yes, my friends . . .
Cherish each precious day.