Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My writing student came over last evening and wore herself out tending to the needs of my yard.  She rather graciously agreed to do some work for me and let me pay her later, once she is back at school.  The yard, other than mowing, has been grossly neglected...no weeding or pruning this summer and no mulching even last summer.  In a shorter time than you would even guess, the weeding was completed, the vines ripped off of the fencing, and 36 bags of mulch were fetched from Lowe's and laid in my yard (we have 4 bags left for the bed that still needs pruning rather desperately).

I had pruned the rose bushes and the crepe myrtle (though not as much as it needed), just working a short while and puking from beginning to end.  So, pulling up to my house after work and Greek class this evening made me smile deep within my heart to cast my eyeball over my well tended yard.   It is a veritable oasis of joy for me to have that labor completed without me completing it and the cost I would have to pay for doing so myself.

I am tired, though.  Very, very tired.  This may very well be the reason why the ring finger on my left hand has suddenly started hurting as badly as if it was broken.  Do you know how often you use your non-dominant hand?  I was surprised to discover that I actually use my left hand far more than I would have guessed.  I cannot grip or hold things because the pain intensifies from distracting to unbearable.  If it does not pass in a while, I shall rather reluctantly go to the doctor.  But I think I would remember if I actually injured it....

Today, as I wrote to one of my new sisters, my new/old bible arrived in the mail.  I had bid on it on eBay because it is an unmarked copy of the 1977 version of the New American Standard Bible.  The cover is actually really, really ugly, but I plan on getting it rebound.  While it does have a reference column, it is not down the middle but the side.  That makes for a different sort of visual presentation of the text.  Once I realized this, I shall give you three guesses where I flipped first.  Yes!  Psalms!  I sat and prayed through a third of the psalter before finally putting the bible down.  Psalm 51 is a great stopping place for me, but I long to stay up all night and finish, to see my beloved psalter in such a fresh new way.

I do so long to have the Living Word read aloud to me.  It is different when it is presented to you, given for you in a reading, to have that glorious Living Word fill your ears and go into you.  Why is hearing such long passages on Sunday not enough for me?  Why do I crave more?  I wonder if I ran an ad in Craig's List or something for a reader if I could find someone.  I also wonder if it matters having the one serve you such riches be a Christian matter or if merely hearing it from anyone would be the salve it is to me.  I know I shall soon forget the joy, the relish with with Pastor F read to me from John.  It saddens me that I do not have that opportunity to hear him read still and that I shall lose the memory shortly.

The other night when I was talking with someone, I said that I do not remember my friendship with Bettina.  I know I have talked about it, written about it.  But in that moment I suddenly doubled over with overwhelming sorrow and could not contain my tears no matter how much I long not to cry on the phone with him anymore.  It was as if I began to grieve that loss for the first time.  Or maybe it was another loss...or both.     

To me, it is a vile, wretched, nearly unbearable thing that this disease strips my memory and leaves me with so little.  Fifteen years of Bettina loving me would surely be enough to arm me against most everything, Christ as my shade and shelter, Bettina serving as His hands and voice to me, showing me what love is, when I struggle to grasp that such a thing that is not bound by good behavior and acceptable body weight and respectable clothing.  But for me it is more like 15 days, days that I cling to as fiercely as I know how.  Remember when you climbed a tree with me even though you were seven months pregnant with your first cherub?

I hate that I cannot remember entire years with my best friend.  I hate that I am beginning to forget, to lose even the time I had with my new family a mere month ago.  I hate that I cannot remember from the conference room to my desk.  I hate that I cannot remember from a note on my desk to the telephone dial pad.

I hate this damn disease.  I hate it!  I am terrified by what I see on the inside looking out.  And I am so very lonely in being the only one to bear the fear and confusion of the inexorable devastation of my cognitive function.  I have been trying to control my temper when I try to speak of such and immediately hear back how intelligent I am, for I am trying to accept the fact that no one is really listening in regard to this.  Bettina proffered that they might see me if I did not work so hard to hide the problems, to mask over the MS symptoms.  But the jaded part of me wonders if anyone would even believe me were I to stand naked in my confusion.

For example, Papa Dore dearly loves the book of Acts, but I have eschewed it for many years because I do not understand it.  Since it is dear to him, I have started trying to study it.  I even went so far as to consult Wikipedia and other Internet sources for a general overview and such, but I have not gained any ground in understanding this book of the bible.  I have the Holy Spirit within me and a Ph.D., yet I cannot grasp the whole of this book, nor the important chunks of Living Word contained therein.   Learning Acts has been worse...worse...than learning Greek.  Why am I so stupid?  Why do I read the text, then an explanation, and then scratch my head for one seems not to go with the other?  This damn disease.  This horrible, vile, wretched disease.

I think I should not try to speak of the cognitive dysfunction anymore save for here, somehow stuff it in a place where I can ignore the desire to have someone share this path with me, walk along side me, both seeing the disease and not being scared of it.  The book on MS and cognitive function reassures me that I am not alone, but it also paints a picture that is hard for me to gaze upon, knowing what is happening inside my head, knowing what I cannot escape.

At least I have made one plan against the future of this wretched disease:  The new/used bible is a medium-sized font.  My beloved NASB is a thinline, the type of bible I have used for years, which, unfortunately, has micro text.  This fall, a new 1977 NASB large print edition will be coming out.  I plan to get one so that no matter how poor my eyes are, I will have a NASB 1977 bible to read!

I have also been needing to have my bible rebound, so when my savings have been repleted, I shall first get this awful ugly one rebound in leather to see how it turns out.  Then, once I am certain the process is safe, I shall send off my poor, battered, broken bible for some refreshment and strengthening that we might remain companions for many, many more years to come!

The best part is that I gained such a treasure for the bargain price of $4.01, shipping included!

I shall give you three guesses as to what color leather I shall choose for the binding.  Because I am a generous soul, I shall give you a hint:  God does not make green cows, so I have to go with second best color.

I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you 
and that your joy may be full.  ~John 15:11


With a vaguely European accent, a man in a coffee shop was overheard to say to his friend, " So how are you?  Is there any dancing in your world today?"
As Jesus prepared His disciples for His crucifixion, their world was shrouded  in uncertainty.  So He comforted them, telling them of His love for them and saying, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you" (John 15:11a).  When fear and doubt cloud our world, we too can count on His love to renew our joy.

Because of the love of Jesus, there is dancing in our world every day.  No matter what circumstances we're facing, we always have a reason to celebrate and be glad.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!

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