March 22, 2013

Remember the Present


We often talk about the memories we’re making, those special times we share with loved ones and friends.  We speak with confidence about what the future holds.
“This is what it’s all about!”
“Someday we’ll look back on this and smile.”
“I will never forget this day as long as I live!”
“What great memories!”

 But what if we do forget?  What if we can’t remember?  What if when that person that made us laugh ‘til we had tears rolling down our cheeks, walks in the room and we stare at them with stranger eyes and their heart breaks because we don’t know their name?

The other night as I sat in the dim light of my father’s little apartment in the memory support unit, I said to him, “Do you have any memories of when you were a little boy Dad?”  Knowing I shouldn’t ask him to remember anything because he might get frustrated, I knew I was breaking the rules.  But “they” do say that we keep our long term memories the longest so I thought I’d give it a whirl.
“Not really, not any whole ones.”
And then he stared into someplace faraway, and I knew I wouldn’t ask him to remember anything ever again.

So if our moments aren’t about making memories what are they about?

They are about the present.  They are about making the most of everything that God has given us to bring him glory, build his kingdom, and enrich lives.  They are about being Jesus in a broken world.  They are about building relationships that we may not remember someday, but that may be part of God’s provision for our lives in the future, and will most definitely be a part of our eternity.

One in three seniors now dies from or with Alzheimer’s.  These numbers, that were just recently published, are shocking, but the baby boomer generation is just entering retirement so these numbers are likely to balloon. My Dad’s life, and others like his, is all about what is happening in the present moment.    With Alzheimer’s, ten minutes ago might as well have happened 80 years ago. Alzheimer’s patients not only lose memories, if they live long enough they will forget how to do just about everything including how to write, walk, brush their teeth, feed themselves and even swallow.  They lose themselves in every significant earthly way.  


 So where is our hope? It’s where our only real hope can be, in Jesus.  

"Lord, may I live my life in such a way that my treasures are stored up in heaven, where moth and rust and dementia cannot destroy.  May I use the time you have given me to impact eternity, and anchor my life to the only One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever."  

This is my prayer and the hope of my life.  Won't you join me?

Today I'm sharing with Lisa Jo and Five Minute Friday where she gives us a prompt and we write for five minutes.  Today, I took eight! Eek!  Today's prompt is REMEMBER.

I'm also sharing with Spiritual Sundays and The Weekend Brew

22 comments:

  1. Hi Stepahi,
    My name is Katy and I found you off of Lisa Jo's Five Minute Friday.

    I have to say this post really touched my heart. Thank you so much for sharing...definitely something I will be pondering.

    Blessings!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello Katy! I'm glad you were able to take something from these words!

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  2. Stephani, that is beautiful. I'm sorry that your father is going through this tough time. My Grandmother is experiencing it as well and it is very tough. Thank you for your beautiful prayer! I am praying it with you with all that is in me. So glad I stopped by from FMF!
    ~Sarah from http://sudryandspecific.wordpress.com/

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    1. Sarah, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I'm sorry about your grandmother! I know exactly what you are going through. It is tough, but God miraculously reveals himself in all of it!

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  3. Such a touching post.

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  4. Well, words aren't my way of expressing things the best...but this was beautiful. My prayers are with you and your dad. These pictures are beautiful too. I thank God for a bright future ahead of us...with no more tears, in the presence of our almighty Creator...restored and made new. These are promises we can count on.

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    1. Oh Anita! You always say your don't express yourself well in writing! That's not true! But, if you are really worried about it,you can slip a photo in here anytime! I won't complain! Ha! We all know you are gifted with photography! Yes, we must look forward to our heavenly reward. It is so easy to get caught up in the mess here on this earth!

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  5. Stephani, this is expressed so beautifully. Only eight minutes? Wow! My grandfather (Bompa) died with Alzheimer's. He lived a full life, as I've gathered from your writing that your dad has done, too. He made memories in the present that those of us left behind cherish. He lives on in my memory. I think one of the great blessings of writing is preserving memories, binding generations together in love. Blessings, Peg

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    1. So many touched by Alzheimer's Peg. I love that you called your grandfather Bompa! I'm sure there is a story there! One of the reasons I started this blog was as a means to journal. I joke with my husband that someday if I forget all of I'm experiencing just pull out my blog and let me read! I'll probably read it and say, "Did I write that?" Lol!

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  6. Oh, what a lovely blog. We have much in common sister. I am taking care of my mom who also has Alzheimer's. It at times is a painful lonely walk. On my post yesterday I looked at the scripture He will make all things beautiful in time. And I felt like perhaps the Spirit was whispering to me about this disease and the beauty that will come for mom IN TIME. Not in this world perhaps, but she is on the journey. I am moving her into a memory care unit in a few days. Another statistic for you, for those who are in their 80's, the statistics are 50% get this disease. I admire your ability to cling to the Lord in this. I often leave and pray "Oh Lord, may I never get this!"
    Wishing you a restful blessed weekend,
    Gayle from Behind the Gate

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    1. Oh Gayle! It's a lonely walk, but please check in with me when you feel you need an ear; it's for sure that I will understand! I pray you will see the hand of God through this journey especially as you move your Mom to Memory Care. Yes, IN TIME, your Mom will be whole again, and my Dad too!

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  7. Those stats are shocking, yet my mom-in-law has Alzheimers, so I know it's devastation. I'm visiting from weekend brew and your place here is so lovely.

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    1. Thanks for checking in Elizabeth! So many who have commented today are touched by Alzheimer's. When my Dad was first diagnosed I didn't know anyone else that had been, and I couldn't believe my own Dad has such a devastating disease. But, now I realize that as time goes by more of us know someone with Alzheimer's than those of us who don't. It permeates our culture and breaks so many hearts, but God is good and he doesn't waste anything! He will use even this. He already has in my own life!

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  8. Tears welling up as I read this... You've been in the thick of this for awhile. My prayers are still with you and your family, Stephani.

    Our memories are about the present; I so agree with you. I remember feeling that and blogging about it, too. I went back and re-read what I wrote then because I don't want to forget even now that TODAY COUNTS. It was neat seeing that you had commented on that post almost 3 years ago. :-) It's here: http://lisanotes.blogspot.com/2010/05/does-today-count.html

    Blessings to you, my friend.

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    1. Sent you an email Lisa! Thanks friend! We've been at this blog thing awhile now haven't we!? Glad you came into my life once upon a time! :)

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  9. Hard things we face in life. It brings me to tears thinking of how your heart must hurt. I'm praying for you, Stephani. Thank you for the reminder to live in the present,putting our hope in Jesus.

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    1. My heart hurts Pamela, but it burst with joy at the same time. It is miraculous how God moves in and shatters the ugliness of this disease in the moments I need it most! Thanks for praying!

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  10. Dear Stephanie
    Not to worry about the extra time. I was just talking about Alzheimer's disease with an elderly couple tonight who has friends with this illness. I am sorry to hear that your father is also a sufferer. My heart goes out to you.
    Blessings
    Mia

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  11. I oversaw the care of my MIL when she suffered from Alzheimer's and I believe it is the saddest disease on earth. I've often reminded my Dad of how blessed he has been to keep his mind throughout his battle with GBS. Great words Stephani and may the Lord continue to sustain you as you do one of the most loving things you can do for your parents - care for them. Hugs to you!

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  12. That last image is so poignant...may God bless you with strength and courage to travel this road with your father!

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  13. Stephanie, I am so sorry. My husband's grandmother's had Alzheimer's. She was struggling right around the time we married, so I didn't get to know her at all. I am praying for you my sweet friend.

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  14. Beautiful post. I can only imagine how heartbreaking this is to watch your dad suffer with this terrible disease. You have such a firm foundation of faith that will surely get you through this challenging time. And it's wonderful to see. What a great example to those looking on. God bless.

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