Monday, May 26, 2003

Rebecca's Journey - 28

Greetings, Friends,

This is Sunday afternoon, May 25. I've been home from the US for several days. Our friend and colleague, Dean Jordon, has been here en route to the Congo.

Rebecca is well. Robert and Tracy will be here shortly for Rebecca's Sunday afternoon "walk". If the weather holds, we'll go again to the lake. She's been there the last 3 Sundays, and has enjoyed the outing.

Rebecca: "I've been home now about 6 weeks, and, as you know, it is wonderful to be here with my dear family and loved ones. Needless to say, there have been adjustments for everyone, and often those adjustments have not been easy. We've each felt stretched in different ways, and have appreciated your prayers.

Twice my afternoon naps have turned a bit challenging. I use the base of a cordless phone as my call system. The person responsible for me has the receiver, and when I need them, I push the "phone finder" which rings in the receiver. On two different occasions the base unit has slipped beyond my reach.

It isn't entirely rational. I could hear my dear family tiptoeing overhead and whispering in the hallway. I knew they were so glad I was getting such a long nap. But I flashed back to the old days at ICU when I was unable to communicate or call for help. I ended up with an overwhelming sense of my complete vulnerability and inability.

On the morning of the first afternoon, in my quiet time, the Lord had spoken to me through the Psalms that He was ever watching, and that He heard my cry. That afternoon, after about 45 minutes of not being able to get anyone's attention, I began to cry. Then I remembered the Psalm, but, I'm sorry to say, it didn't help me much at the time. I felt the old panic of isolation and fear. About that time, Judy stuck her head around the corner to check on me. Then I really cried!

The second time this happened, about 3 weeks later, I did better, more able to hold on to the reality that the Lord was watching me, and knowing that He would soon send someone to me. I think the end result of both experiences drove home the reality of my incapacity and my dependence. My care, my life, really requires a team. We're coming to see that it is an expression of His Body - His life expressed in and through our relationships.

Thank you so much for standing with us during Paul's recent trip to the States. We got along very well. Judy took good care of me, first with Annie's help, and then with the help of Caelene, Mary Peake's future daughter-in-law. Of course, Robert and Tracy are a constant support. This really is a team effort, and no small task."

Paul again: Rebecca's statement that our life requires a team effort is a reality for us all. The Father created us for dependence on Him and interdependence with the community of which we are a part. Thank God for people and relationships.

This week Rebecca's Physical Therapist discovered that she had new movement in her right leg. She said it is continuing enervation.

Our love to all,

Paul & Rebecca

PS One additional prayer request: It has become obvious that it takes 3 people living in the house to adequately care for Rebecca and the home, including receiving guests. Having 3 people allows days off and some free time for those involved. Please pray with us for another long-term member of "the team".

Monday, May 05, 2003

Rebecca's Journey - 27

Greetings, Friends,

This is Monday, 5 May. Judy arrived several days ago - so good to have herback! I leave tomorrow for 2 weeks in the US, leaving Rebecca in Judy's and Annie's competent care.

Rebecca is doing so well. Her strength has increased rather dramatically, and she is beginning to reengage the management of different aspects of our home, including overseeing menus and shopping, her own scheduling, and that of her caregivers and medical professionals, etc. She has even begun editing the last 18 months of updates with a book in mind. This is the first time she has read the e-mails from the 1st 10 months after her accident. She remembers almost nothing of the first months of hospitalization - happily. Forgetfulness is a much a gift from God as remembering.

From Rebecca: "Several years ago, the Lord gave me two phrases that have helped set the course for my life: 'Change my mind, and teach me what is good.'

I have not thought of either of these for the last 18 months. Then the other day I suddenly remembered them with a freshness which made me realize that only the Lord could teach me how to live this new life. That involves His changing my mind and letting me see from His perspective.

Last week gave me an opportunity. It was a beautiful spring day. Robert & Tracey came over and said: 'Lets go for a walk at the lake.' The thought frightened me, which made me know that I needed to do it. So Robert, Tracey, Paul, and I went for my first 'walk' in my wheelchair. It was the first time that I'd been out as a handicapped person among the well. I knew that if anyone felt awkward seeing me, it was my responsibility to smile and try to put them at ease. But it was not easy.

The cobblestones and path were bumpier than any of us had realized. By the time we got back to the car, I had had quite a workout. I had become verynauseated, and got back just in time. (Thank God for plastic basins.) When it was all over, we laughed together and said that I needed more practice. We all agreed it was a good beginning, and knew it would become easier, and even delightful.

Surely that is God's perspective. Sometimes beginnings are difficult. The first 'steps' need to be approached with determination and gratitude - and with expectation for all that God has in store."

Rich blessings to you all,

Paul & Rebecca