The view from the porch would be beautiful if not for the thick early morning fog. But it totally hides the large flowering camellia bush, majestic pine trees and rustic guest cottage across the way (relocated from where it once served as Daddy’s first office.) I know they are there somewhere… but unseen for now.
As I sip the strong hot coffee which is to be my fuel for the day ahead, Aunt Carol (we’re sitting on her porch at “Honeysuckle Farm”) observes, “Cindy, this fog is like your life today. You are wondering what’s ahead for your mother as she lies in the hospital recovering from surgery, sick with the flu and facing another surgery in a few days. There are so many decisions to make and yet nothing is clear.”
Unseen for now. I gulp, realizing she’s absolutely right. I am literally “in a fog” on how to help my frail and fragile 91-year-old Mama.
As anyone returning home knows, part of us reverts to childhood upon re-entry. So no wonder my little girl self keeps looking around for the adult-in-the-room. The one who knows what to do, who will make wise decisions to move us forward on the caring, healing path. To my astonishment I remember, That person is me!
This very week an esteemed psychologist told me, “The sign of mental health is the ability to handle ambiguity.” What is ambiguity? Being able to say “I know that I don’t know and that’s okay.”
I wonder if I can handle this not-knowing — this fog.
My Aunt Carol may not be a psychologist but she is one of the wisest women I know. How grateful I am to nestle under her afghan (which she knitted with yarn she spun from sheep she raised) and hear these next words: “The fog will lift, Cindy, and all will be made clear. One step at a time. God will show you what needs to be done and when. Trust Him with your precious Mama.”
Almost two weeks ensued – some days clear, others cloudy. Small steps; big steps. Answered prayer; more questions. Transition from hospital to rehab, and then it was time for me to fly home. Even though Mama was not yet healed.
My final morning coffee with Aunt Carol was yet again shrouded in deep fog.
“This is a journey,” she said. “None of us knows what the future holds, even today. Remember your Mama has a strong desire to recover and live. I know my sister and she is not afraid. You can truly leave her in God’s hands.”
What I desire for my sweet Mama is peace, not pain. But I had to return home feeling helpless and too far away. Grateful that Jesus is still by her side, breaking through every foggy barrier and bringing His Light.
I can definitely relate to those disciples who sometimes had a hard time not understanding what was going on, prompting Jesus to say, “You don’t understand now what I am doing. But someday you will.” John 13.7
Emotionally and physically exhausted, I almost regretted that on my first day home I had volunteered to run the booktable at a conference where my husband was the emcee. Yet I smiled upon reading the title of the guest speaker’s book – “Becoming a Healing Presence.” Can you even imagine how much Dr. Albert S. Rossi’s words ministered to me that day? So timely and life-giving.
I’m trying to accept this season of concern about my mother’s compromised health. Living with ambiguity as I pray daily for God’s provision, power and peace in her life.
Do you find yourself in a fog today? Concerning a major decision? A conflicted relationship?
In the midst of pea-soup thickness, perhaps embracing this wise advice will help you (and me) be patient and peaceful:
- I know that I don’t know.
- I know that Christ knows.
- I trust Him. (from “Becoming a Healing Presence” by Dr. Albert S. Rossi)
In closing I’d like to share one of Amy Carmichael’s poems which I have quoted widely in my own books. It speaks to me of how to live while we are waiting for healing, waiting for the fog to lift – before all the answers come.
- Before the winds that blow do cease,
- teach me to dwell within Thy calm.
- Before the pain has passed in peace,
- give me, my God, to sing a psalm.
- Let me not lose the chance to prove
- the fullness of enabling love.
- O Love of God, do this for me:
- maintain a constant victory.
- ~ Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)
under the mercy, Lucinda
“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”
©2018 Lucinda Secrest McDowell www.EncouragingWords.net
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