Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Preparing a room

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:2-3

Our daughter Anne has an interesting job this summer. Her inability to find the perfect job proved to be God’s plan for her to work for her grandparents. Her grandfather has had Alzheimer's for 15 years and her grandmother a heart condition. Anne has been doing a little bit of everything from killing weed trees to cleaning a chicken bone collection out of the shed to painting the nether regions of the outside of the house. God has blessed the time she has spent there; she came home one day with the insight that maybe she was there as much to do the work that Granny could no longer do as she was to be conversation for this creative intelligent woman who bears a burden we cannot understand as she watches the light in her artist husband’s eyes grow dimmer every day.

This week Anne has a new task. She is preparing a room for Grandpa. Granny has been caring for her husband since the day of the diagnosis. She has worked hard to create a safe and interesting environment for him. She counts on the familiarity of a small town to help keep him safe as he walks the neighborhood. She has set up a system of notes that keep him aware of where she is and who he is. She has relentlessly questioned him to keep his brain working as long as possible. She has gently orchestrated his day to assure he has food and sleep and everything else he needs. She has done this well, but the time has come for Grandpa to receive his care from others. He is moving into an Alzheimer section of the local home where a crew of people will provide what Granny has done, alone, for these many years. The time is right; we are sad none-the-less and now Anne prepares the room.

Anne has been waiting for this section of the home to be remodeled. In this time she has visited the room many times, taken measurements, talked with Granny, made plans with Granny’s friend and neighbor about what furniture to help the space feel familiar, what papers from his office that will give him something to remind him of who he is, what art work should adorn the walls to keep the creative side of his brain alive a little bit longer. When she was little, Anne loved to spend time with her grandparents. Every visit resulted in a new piece of “Anne and Grandpa art” for our walls. She even worked with him on his last commission: a sculpture for the children’s museum. Grandpa lovingly prepared experiences for Anne and now Anne prepares his room.

It is hard to know what feelings Anne is experiencing in this task. Anne has very strong leadership skills and she has approached this task as she always does, with much energy, organization and common sense. We do know that she does this out of a deep love for her grandparents. We suspect she endures grief and we know she understands that this is God’s ministry plan for her. Her father and I are proud and grateful.

The scripture verse from John reminds us that Anne is not the only one to be preparing a room. Even as we rise each day to complete the work that God sets before us, a room is being prepared for us. Because of the love of our Heavenly Father, the redemptive act of His Son and the faith work of the Spirit we will live with God in heaven forever. Our room will have what we need, will feel familiar, and will inspire us to constantly praise our creator and protector. While Anne prepares a room for Grandpa, God prepares one for him, also. Just as he is moving into this earthly room, he will one day move into his heavenly room.

God’s love for us is such that His preparations for us are complete. He prepares for our eternal glory, and He prepared His Son to make that glory possible. And while we wait for our room He prepares a life of love and service for us. The scripture verse begins with the assurance that our hearts need not be troubled. In the context of the verse, the disciples had just heard the troubling news that Jesus would be leaving. Jesus was preparing them for their work, too. This same promise is for us. Our hearts need not be troubled as changes bring us stress and grief. God is our Preparer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your daughter was a caretaker to her grandparents. A role she may well look back upon with a pained joy.
I am older than your daughter and am doing this for my parents. It is a joy, a pain, and a comfort to help them, listen to them, and work with them.
Thank you.