Friday, January 25, 2013

The Fellowship of the Lymies

We are in the Lyme doc's office. Everyone is here because they are sick. Some desperately so ... in a wheelchair, on oxygen, unable to walk or talk or see or think clearly. Others don’t look as sick. But they can’t function fully. They are too weak, in too much pain, too foggy in their brain. Some are new to this, and tentative. Will all this be worth it? They have tried so many doctors before. Some are clearly getting better – they will tell you their stories, about years of sickness, then hope and treatment, and now some health, some vitality. They tell us about their protocol, what helped and what didn’t, how they spent everything they had to get to health, how grateful they are to those who have helped them. They give us all hope, and help us to persist.

The prescribed treatments are long, painful, and complex.  No two are quite alike, because the progression of each person’s disease is a little different.  The doctor prescribes and guides your treatment, but you have to say yes. You have to participate.  There are medicines to be taken, things to be avoided, regimens to be followed. No one does it alone. A friend or spouse or family member has been there to hand them the pills, hook them up to the IV, push them in the wheelchair into the office. Restoration comes slowly.

Online, I read reviews of the practice. “They saved my life”... “They are disorganized” ... “they want you to take all this expensive medicine.” Some have given up and settled for existence instead of life. Too hard, too long, too expensive. I don’t want to take all those pills. I can’t afford to come to this doctor. Maybe there is an easier way.

But we are here by faith. We have enough evidence to believe. We pay the cost and follow the regimen. Where else could we go?  And in the process, it is good to be here. The other patients and their caregivers understand. We are the Fellowship of the Lymies, in it together. Getting well.  “Yes,” we tell the others, it is worth it. Stick to it. The doc knows what he is doing, even though he may not be explaining it to you. (Would we understand it all anyway??)  He gets people well.”

I have told you a parable. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gwen's Mama

"When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them, I the god of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle and the olive; I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together so that all may see and know, all may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it. " Isaiah 41:17-29

"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’”

Gwen’s mama died this week.  I didn’t get to the funeral – but I heard about it, and I can picture it.

My friend Gwen came home to Kentucky from Vienna, Austria, ten years ago to take care of her mama who had developed Alzheimers.  It was  hard to leave Vienna. Gwen had a rich life in Vienna, and a ministry with diplomats and women at the United Nations from all over the world.  She gave it up, and moved  to Kentucky.

Gwen is a lifegiver wherever she is.  Instead of diplomats, she became a lifegiver to her Mama. And her cousins. And the lady across the street, and the hospice nurse, and the students she met at the college each week ... and  to whoever came across her path.  Friends came from all over to visit her. Not because they were sorry for her, stuck there in that little town... but because they wanted to get in on it, to be around her, to be refreshed by the life that flows from her.  (And maybe some of them also wanted a piece of her coconut pie. I’m just saying...)

The funeral, I gather, was a glimpse of the life she brought. Instead of a old woman dying alone, Gwen’s mama’s life  and home had become a garden. Because of Gwen.  The desert of old age, memory loss, and illness was transformed into a garden of love, kindness and joy, because there was a fountain there. The funeral was an opportunity to see and know, to consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.

It is, after all the way He does things. By His Spirit and His word,  He makes people into springs and rivers, springs and rivers which make the deserts bloom.