Narrow places

SeasonsWe talked about our planned trip to Europe this morning. My husband and I have saved and dreamed of a special anniversary adventure: three weeks somewhere in Europe.

“But what about your mother?” he asked.

And it struck me: I’m in a narrow place in life where concerns for parents, children and grandchildren all press against my plans. Could we be gone so long and so far away with loved ones in some sort of crisis?

It’s been two years since my mother’s stroke. Here’s some of what I wrote shortly after the stroke:

Chaos wrapped its stubborn tendrils around my ankles and brought me stumbling to my knees last week.

My mother, vibrant and energetic at 83, crashed to the floor with a stroke and now we wait. We sit beside her hospital bed, counting her breaths, charting every twitch  of her toes.

Hopeful. Fearful. Will she survive this attack on her brain and her body? How well can her body heal?

And what have we lost?

Chaos swirls like a dripping fog, drenching us with plans draining away.

Plans have drained away. But the chaos has sorted its way into a new routine. New life has replaced the pain and confusion. Mom is still with us.

I’ve grown. I’ve rearranged priorities. I’m more patient with the special needs of others.

I don’t know what that means about our anniversary trip but I do know that, in these narrow places, he and I adjust and we learn to love in fresh ways.

We’re richer for it.

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