Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Rebecca's Journey - 60

Greetings friends,

Rebecca and I are on the deck, in lovely sun shine. Spring is definitely on its way. The crocuses are blooming, and the daffodils have broken through the earth, reaching toward the sun.

Judy returned to the US last Monday, and Jessica is here for another 10 days. Then the daughter of friends from Columbus, GA, arrives to help care for Rebecca. Annie is here until mid-May.

Rebecca: "How thankful we are for your continued and faithful prayers. You are a daily encouragement and strength to us.

Donatienne, my physical-therapist, recently prepared a six-month review of my progress. In it she says that my biggest improvement is that I have significantly more strength than I have ad, and much quicker recovery from periods of stress or exertion. This became obvious after Christmas when I was able to resume normal physical-therapy after 3 days of recuperation. Last year, after the holidays, it took weeks for me to recover. I continue to show small improvement in all of my limbs, particularly on my right side. My right hand and foot have more strength and co-ordination, and I have more dexterity in the fingers of my right hand.

I recently had a small bed sore on my right foot where I had had one while I was in Intensive Care. The girls began a program of massaging my right foot to stimulate circulation. I'm happy to say that the bed sore is healed. In the process, every day the nurses would say: 'It's getting better.' Finally one day I said: 'How can something be always getting better and still not be well.' Sometimes I think that must be how you feel about me.

We recently had someone visit who only knew me through Rebecca's Journey. I could tell by her expression that when she saw me she was shocked. In the face of my progress, it is important that you understand that the improvement is slow. Our miracle is that I do continue to improve.

So it is another spring, and I'm thankful! My condition continues to change, often week by week. This week I'm experiencing that numbness again, and I am tempted to be discouraged. But I look to the One in whose hands I rest, and remember that you are praying. And I work and wait! Little by little our progress continues.

Recently I came across a letter from a friend. Paul had also copied me his response. Paul's note touched and encouraged me so much that I wanted him to send it on to you. The following is his letter to a friend."

Paul's letter: "I remember one of the insights I had after Rebecca's accident: I must "play the game" with the cards I am dealt, whether I like them or not. Of course the thought came with the deep sense of kind Providence - that we have a Father who loves us, is committed to us, and is overseeing our circumstances. We can trust Him! The reality that the hand dealt us isn't the one we wanted, (and may not seem to be a winning hand), doesn't abrogate the reality of Father's sovereignty. He just has a different idea than we have, and probably different goals.

He has intentions that are at times mysterious, but we have confidence that He works all things into His plan for good. This gives a security in the midst of upheaval. It also gives us the confidence to go forward, to "do the next thing", with an underlying trust in Him.

This may not, immediately at least, change the circumstances, or the emotions about them. But it does provide access to the Peace He said He'd give, and the Joy (His very own) that comes to us from outside our circumstances.

I'm incredibly grateful that the Father commanded us to keep our focus fixed on Jesus: minds, heart, eyes. He is our principle reality, and we see all things in the light of His face, His presence. He, Himself, is the primary impact on us. Our circumstances make only a secondary impact. We see all our circumstances through Him and in the light of Him. What a gift the Father gave us in Jesus, and in the command to keep Him the highest, deepest, most central reality in life.

There are often, almost always I think, things to do. But the doing flows out of our relationship with Him.

May you two know Him better and better, especially through this trying time."

Paul here! May spring (for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere) be a sign of His life breaking forth.

With our love,


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Rebecca's Journey - 59

Greetings, Friends,

I've been home now for about a week. We've had a number of visitors from various countries - and I've had the flu. (Glad that's behind me.) This Journey will include some thoughts from Rebecca and Jessica, Rebecca's
Care-Giver for these 3 months. Last week Jessica was doing something for Rebecca, for which Rebecca expressed appreciation. Jessica mentioned to her that it was easy serving her because she was always so grateful. I thought: what a great idea for a Journey! I also thought how wonderful it would be if God, who is always serving us, could say to us: "It is easy to serve you. You are always so grateful!"

From Jessica: "One of the first things I noted about Rebecca was her truly grateful attitude. I've observed the enjoyment others had in doing the tasks Rebecca needed done. There isn't a time when Rebecca fails to smile
and say: 'Thank you, Dear!' How easy it is to serve someone who is grateful for our work.

With Rebecca's thankful heart, it has become a delight to serve her however I can. I am blessed by Rebecca's gratefulness, and because of her example, I've come to see how important it is to live a grateful life."

From Rebecca: "I find it a simple thing to be grateful because I'm surrounded by loving people who are willing to do the things I cannot do for myself. If it weren't for their kindness I would be unable to have a pear after dinner while we watch a movie (it even has to be pealed). I would be unable to have my blankets taken off when I get too warm in the middle of the night. There would be no one to feed my birds or water my orchids. You see my dear Care-Givers not only care for all the practical aspects of my life, but also do the things that make my life pleasant. In such an atmosphere, how could I not be grateful? I had someone say to me once while I was in the hospital: 'Would you please stop saying "thank you". It makes me tired to keep saying "You're welcome."' But you know, I couldn't do it, because I am so truly grateful.

Jessica and I were talking the other day around this subject. At the time I thought of many of you and your families, and our own family through the years. Paul and I have always felt it was a priority to teach our children to be grateful. I don't know about yours, but ours were not often naturally grateful. As we taught them, by example and by reminding them, there grew an atmosphere of appreciating to one another, of seeing just little things, and finding gratefulness.

The Lord has made it so clear that we are to be thankful toward Him. I also think it is important to be thankful toward and appreciative of one another.

Ps. 107: 21-22: 'O, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.'"

Paul again: Judy leaves in less than two weeks. Jessica returns to Kentucky in four. The daughter of friends in Georgia will arrive near the end of the March. But please do be praying with us for others whom He may wish to send to help during this time.

Thanks, as always, for your love and prayers,

Paul & Rebecca