The phone rang; I looked at the Caller ID and answered it. Mom was on the other end. She had a bad day, while trying to cut the grass that morning the lawnmower had quit and wouldn‘t start. She said that she “tried and tried and pulled the rope until she almost killed herself” then she gave up and went in the house.
Sitting in the living room chair, she started thinking about why she lives there. She came to the conclusion to sell her house and move to an apartment. Several of her friends on her bowling league live in apartments and they seem to like it. She said the house is just too much for her and thinks moving is the right thing to do. She had it all planned out, she would keep some money for herself and give the rest to us kids; so she would be alive to see us enjoy our inheritance.
At first, I tried to talk her into staying in the house, I suggested she hire a lawn service, or let us kids take care of things. Because I don’t like living in apartments, I didn’t think she would. But, she had answers for everything I said; she is old and settled, she’d like it etc. So, I decided to support her in her decision.
I started to look inside myself and ask why I was uncomfortable with her wanting to move. I realized I feel as though moving to an apartment is her last stage in life and it brings the realization she isn’t going to be around forever. I mean, I know she has to die sometime, but talking about this move just made it more of a reality. Along with that comes knowing my home will be gone, the family “nest” will no longer be there. Mom’s house is the place I was born and raised. Our holidays are spent there with the family. Mom and her home seems to be the glue that holds us together. Mom’s a Christian, so I know she will go to heaven to be with Jesus, and she has lots of people up there waiting for her; my Dad being one of them. (That’s another story for later...)
The reason I was bothered by this move has more to do with selfish reasons than anything else. I realized it was hard for me to think about, because I’m single and don’t have children. My two sisters have families, so when our parents are both gone, and that family has ended so to speak, they will still have their families. Does this make sense? I think there is a fear of being alone and of growing older myself. Mom was always the one I went to for comfort and strength when I was little; she always took care of things, now it’s my turn to take care of her. That is a hard role to reverse.
So, here I was with all of this inside of me. I prayed and God gave me peace, comfort and acceptance. One day, we went apartment hunting. We saw three different places, they were very nice. I was being positive and encouraging, pointing out all the benefits of living in each one. When we got in the car to leave, Mom said she didn’t think she’d like living in an apartment. It reminded her of a nursing home. She hasn’t lived in an apartment for 50 years and then she didn’t live in one for very long. We agreed she would allow us kids to do the lawn work. I told her she shouldn’t have to do anything at her house anymore, to just call one of us, or let us set up a schedule to help. Since then, my nephew has been cutting the grass for her. I go over Saturday mornings to help clean out the closets, basement and the attic.
God knows what is best. He is so gentle in teaching and showing me the different seasons of life and the adjustments that are needed. This whole experience gave both Mom and me lots of things to think about. I’m so glad it happened because I got the chance to do some soul searching and realize a few things.
There are times in our lives when we think like my Mom did, that we are ready to go to the next season, but God knows different. God had to show Mom that she is not at that place in her life. Mom belongs right where she is, but she needs to learn to accept and receive help from others. I know that is hard for her, she was always the one to give, the one to do without and put the rest of the family first.
Then there are times in our lives when we think like I did, that the time is not right to move to the next level or season, just stay right where we are, don’t change anything. Again, God knows different. There are times to move on and even though this wasn’t one in the physical sense for Mom, it is a different level for her. The role reversal has begun. Often times I either want to run out in front of God, or dig in my heels and not leave my comfort zone.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name. You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. Nor shall the flame scorch you.” Isaiah 43:1-2
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, For the Lord upholds him with His hand.” Psalm 37:23-24
This life is a journey and we need to keep moving, one step at a time. The reassuring part is that Jesus goes through it all with us. He will never, ever ask us to do or go anywhere that He doesn’t go with us.