Saturday, September 29, 2007

It was just one short year ago that the papers were signed for us to purchase the house where we now live. We were miles away--literally and figuratively. We were in California, living moment to moment; our son and his wife were in Tennessee taking care of business for us. I was in ICU on the ventilator; Tom was so stressed he couldn't function. We were both in another world, so to speak. Those days and the ones that immediately followed were probably the worst days of my life. But this is today--one year later and I feel as if this past year has been a special gift--a bonus.

As I was declared cancer free last December and regained my strength, Tom's stress level lowered and he improved some. We have no medical guarantees that the cancer will stay in remission or away completely, but we are hopeful. With Tom and the Parkinson's, there is no remission and no hope that the disease will disappear. There are times when I get really frustrated when he's particularly helpless or I have to explain things again. He gets exasperrated with me when I have to ask him to repeat himself more than once because I can't hear him. Then we remind each other how short life really is--too short to get irritated about things that can't be helped.

We spent parts of several days this week and a good bit of this morning cleaning things out of our garage and participating in the city/county wide disposal day at the fairgrounds. When we moved in last December we found lots of stuff left by the painters and others who had worked on the house. There were old light fixtures, a garbage disposal that had been removed at our request, at least two dozen paint cans and other miscellaneous building materials. We had gotten rid of some of it but were waiting for a designated disposal day so we could clear out everything else. Now the junk that's in the garage is all ours. Oh, joy.

Cleaning out the garage is such an every day thing--maybe not one of our favorite things to do, but necessary and just plain ordinary. It's one of those chores homeowners take for granted. I always have. Not any more. Even a chore like cleaning the garage is part of the bonus time we've been given. I'm glad I'm here to do it. I'm glad we both can budget our energy and take care of things. Who knew what a difference a year would make? Will there be another bonus year for us?

The words to a Christian song that was popular several years ago say it well. They go something like, "I do not know what the future holds; I only know Who holds the future." That's why we both have hope.

Pastor Margaret

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