And Now the End is Here

So, last Wednesday night was my last night as the youth director at our church. I had been at it for five years, and at my age, five years represents quite a change in the physical aspects of keeping up with a bunch of teens. I’ve been to camp with them four times; jumped up and down with them at several hundred concerts (and spent one year with a bulging disc as a result!); shown approximately 5000 movies; bought $100,000 worth of snack foods; driven hundreds of miles to different events; etc…… I’ve prayed with them as they made decisions for the Lord, I’ve loved and counselled them in the Word, I’ve prepared a gazillion Bible studies to encourage them to learn as much as they can about Jesus. I still love them and my desire to see them grow in the Lord is the same as it ever was. It was just time, and we all knew it.

In the past five years, we have had 12 teens graduate out of the youth group into the college and career age level. The numbers have fluctuated from three to 21 to eight. In all the trips we took, I never once had to bring a kid home from a group function. They knew that I loved them, but they also knew that I wouldn’t hesitate to remove them from an event in order to ensure the pleasure of the rest of the group.

It was a good five years. I’m thankful to have had them.

Squished in the Middle

Hubby and I watch the boys every Thursday evening while our daughter goes to night class at the community college. Tonight, we were knee-deep in homework (i hate homework!) and the phone rang. It was my mother, sounding frantic and asking me to come over and take her to the hospital. I asked her where her husband was, and she said he couldn’t take her because he was sick himself. What was wrong with her? She was having muscle spasms all over she said. Immediately my irritated sensor kicked in. She’s been sick with stomach virus a couple days, and I would bet every single penny I own to my name that she took something to try to stop and when it didn’t work she took more until she’d taken too much. It’s her habit to do this, so I know from whence I speak on this matter.

Anyway, after I hung up, fully intending to head over there, Dave stepped in and said he’d go, since I needed to be here with the boys. Out the door he goes. I call mama’s house to let them know he’s on his way to take her. By the time he got there, she had already called an ambulance, and the paramedics were working on her. Hubby followed the ambulance to the hospital and is there even as I write this. He said he’d let me know whether I need to go over as soon as they see a doctor. He also mentioned she might have taken too much medicine and that she’s doing a lot of complaining about the folks who are trying to help her. Hmmmm.

I sigh. It’s part of the season of life we are in, I know. The Sandwich Generation season. Little ones needing us, and older parents needing us. Most days it’s not a problem. Some days it’s almost too much.

Life is what it is. You either roll with it, or you lose your mind. You know?

Papa, The “What If’s” Pushed Me Out of Bed!

Why is it that the “What If’s” wait until bedtime to show up? I sit in my chair and fall asleep watching t.v. I wake up to find I’ve missed the most important last few minutes of the show and now I don’t know if he did it or not or if he was convicted if he did it. So I drag myself to bed and IMMEDIATELY the “What If’s” join me in the bed.

“What if someone hurts one of my grandchildren?”
“What if one of my family members gets arrested?”
“What if someone steals the volleyball goal or basketball goal that we borrowed from the church?”
“What if someone breaks into our home?”
“What if one of my kids falls down the well at my mother’s house, which is 200 miles away in another part of the state?” –wait, that was the “what if'” from 25 years ago. What are you doing in my head? Get out!

“What if , what if, what if…?” It finally gets so crowded in the bed with all the “what if’s” wiggling around that I have to get up.

Okay, now I’m awake. So what to do?
-Check my email.
-Read a chapter in my book.
-Plan an agenda for the meeting tomorrow night with my VBS workers.
-Consider who might be gifted enough to handle our nursery for the upcoming year.
-Stare at the room I’m creating for my crafting adventures, and rearrange it in my head a hundred times or so.
-Pray for my grands, my kids, my precious husband. (hmmm, should have done that first!)
-Place that order for Bible study books for the youth group.
-I could iron a shirt or two… Nah. I’d rather wrestle with the “what if’s” than iron.

Listen to music. Headphones on. “Oh, My Soul,” by the David Crowder Band, soothes my wrestling, restless soul. Excuse me while I close my eyes for a moment to worship. Be right back.

“Ever faithful, ever true, You are known, You never let go.
…….
Oh my soul overflows, Oh what love, Oh what love…Oh my soul fills with hope… Perfect love that never lets go.”

You mean, seriously, I don’t have to worry about the “what if’s”? And all that other stuff, You’ve got that under control? Forgive me, Papa, for not remembering that. The guardian/protector in me still assumes I have to fix it all alone. I guess since You have it all under control, I can get back to bed, huh?

First, I have to listen to Mahalia Jackson sing His Eye Is on the Sparrow.

Good night, friends. I’m suddenly very sleepy.

Cybersaints

Over the years, we have made some forever friends, and many of them come from the church hubby pastored for almost nine years in Roanoke Rapids, NC. These were the kind of friends who just popped over for a visit. Sometimes they even brought with them a meal or–even better–a dessert. We studied together at the church and at home Bible studies. Our kids played and went to camp together. We had some particularly fun New Year’s Eve services (oh, man, did we laugh!). When we moved to a new church, these friends spent two days helping us pack and driving with us to our new church in DC. They did this because they were more than just members at the church where Dave pastored; they were our dear, dear friends. When we arrived at our new home, in another state, hours away from them, they unpacked us, cried with us, and then went back to their homes. At our new church, every now and then we’d look around and some of these precious friends would have shown up for a visit–a visit that took them four hours’ drive to make. One day, Dave and I came home from shopping. The kids were acting really strange. All of a sudden, these guys popped out of a closet and surprised us. I was so happy, I didn’t stop talking for —ever!

As well, we kept up with each other through the medium of emailing, naming ourselves the Cybersaints. We talked about everything in very lengthy emails back and forth. As I was cleaning out some old files this evening, I found some of those emails I had kept in hard-copy form. Looking at the dates, I could not believe how often and how MUCH we actually wrote to each other. My husband, who tends to be the insomniac in our family (tonight it is I), even wrote a drama entitled “Insomniodrama.” I found it in its entirety in my files tonight. I think I’ll print it all up and bind it and send a copy to all my Cybersaint friends.

I don’t know why or when, but over time we stopped writing to each other on a daily basis. Life happened, I guess. It wasn’t because we don’t all love each other, and no one got mad–at least no one stayed mad. It just happened. Now we occasionally email each other, when something really special is happening. We don’t have our “squantums” anymore. (Those of you who aren’t enlightened, that’s a picnic.) We just recently said “see you later” to one of the original Cybersaints, as she stepped into her heavenly home.

Facebook helps some. A few of the Cybersaints are now on there, and we occasionally comment on each other’s statuses or pictures we’ve posted. But we’re older, you know? So why isn’t life slowing down, allowing us more time to communicate? Are we too technological all of a sudden? Is there too much to keep up with, that we don’t keep up with what really matters? That’s kind of a dumb question, isn’t it? Yes, we have allowed ourselves to become too busy.

Life did happen–lots of it. Our kids grew up, they went to college and got married, had kids. We became members of the “sandwich” generation–caring for aging parents on the one side and our grandchildren on the other side. But when the kids were right under our feet, demanding so much of our attention, we still managed at least a weekly correspondence–lengthy ones, too.

Well, dear Cybersaints, if you are reading this, please know that even though my communications have slowed down to less than a snail’s pace, my love for you has not dimmed over the years. For me, you will always be the friends who taught me how to be a friend. Thank you for wonderful memories.