You might say that nothing prepares you for a bump in the road of life, be it a detour, a pothole, a chasm. Yet, if you’re one of God’s children, EVERYTHING prepares you for these events.
Clinging to our faith in the Master Planner, we know that circumstances, whether we see them as major or minor, have been placed in our lives to prepare for this time. Friends dear or casual, and others with whom we have had relationships, are all part of the building and honing of whatever strength, wisdom, and insight we might possess.
“Oh, THAT’S why that happened. THAT is what God was doing,” may be what we say, should we need to say it, when God’s plan is revealed, perhaps on the shores of the crystal sea.
In the 3 months since Mike’s diagnosis, God has shown me a few flickers of His preparation work.
By the end of 2007, I was handling all the bill paying, excluding the office account. At that time, we had separate checkbooks for 4 different areas. Never one to set my standards too high as to wound my-self image, I was doing an adequate though sloppy job. Never overdrawn but never, down-to-the-penny sure of balances. I know, I know. If saints in heaven ARE aware of happenings on earth, I’m guessing God is keeping this fact away from my dad as it would tarnish his joy, just a tad. I know that, right now, several of his offspring are cringing and shaking their heads. They got those genes.
No matter. It took one of my buddies to shame me into doing better. I resolved that for 2008, in every checkbook, I would record every check number, every date, every payee, and I would keep a running balance. I would also record every deposit, even the automatic ones.
Your question might be, “What were you doing?” Well, not this. I had my ‘own system,’ which admittedly had some flaws in it.
I had never kept a New Year’s resolution either, never even tried to, but decided to give this a go. As per old dogs and new tricks, I knew that change would be challenging but resolved to try.
3 months in, I began to discover what all those anal, compulsive people see in keeping good records. As I experienced benefits, I made mental notes to reinforce the effort. 6 months in, it was almost a habit.
As December came to a close, not only was I keeping good checkbooks, I had kept a resolution for the whole year. As my former sloppy self could think of no one else, I boasted to my minister. Proud of little me. Look what I did. So into 2009 I trod, having eliminated two checkbook accounts, confident on my balances.
During the month of April, when the stress of our situation was swirling, I began experiencing what I call Swiss Cheese Brain. It was (and sometime still is) as though there are holes in my head. “Do you want this or that?” I can’t choose. Just tell me.
At the hospital, I lost my purse twice, just walked off and left it. At one point, I could not find my car keys so I systematically checked each place they might be. I finally emptied out the contents of my purse, spread everything across a bed and examined it…no keys. Put everything back in my purse, looked again and the keys were now in the purse. It was distressing to realize that I had looked at those keys and not seen them.
On discharge day, Mike sent me out to the car with some bags. Then, I came back in to get some more. When I returned to the car, I saw that I had left all four doors and the hatch open. I had no recollection of even being at the car (bags in car were evidence) and I burst into tears. Something about the last straw.
Driving was also a challenge. I had to fight NOT to let my brain race around to anything other than “Keep the car between the lines and away from that tail lights ahead of you.” (Be advised when driving around cancer hospitals)
And even though I was/am surrounded by trusted people to help me, one afternoon something major came up, a creditor who claimed he had not be paid; I sat down, literally shaking as I recalled the lost purse/car keys/car doors. I took out the blue checkbook and flipped it open. Staring at me were page after page after page of readable records…dates, check numbers, payees. And there it was, check #1248 to this creditor. It had cleared…I knew the date. A quick trip on line, hit PRINT, and there was my proof.
No shaking. No stress. Holes in head but hard records in hand.
Huh. So maybe that New Year’s Resolution WASN’T my idea, after all.