I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11 (NIV)
For years my brother Jack and I had promised our dad that he could stay at home as long as his health permitted. And then the time came when the doctor told us that Dad’s mental illness was endangering him, our mom, and his caregivers. We had to find a safe place for him.
At the last minute, our consultant told us about family residential care in private homes with trained attendants. Although we’d never heard of this option, we discovered that such a home was available in my parents’ neighborhood.
When Jack and I visited the family home, we knew it was God’s providential response to our promise and our prayers. The family was Christian; one of the daughters was training to be a nurse; and we fell in love with them immediately.
Jack and I returned to our parents’ home to tell Momo the doctor’s recommendation and then to ask her a difficult question: Would she move out of the house she and Dad had built together and had lived in for over fifty years? We gently explained Dad’s mental condition and his need for more skilled care, and then we asked if she would be willing to go with him. We knew he wouldn’t be able to leave his wife of seventy-one years.
“I’ll go,” Momo replied, “and I’ll like it even if I don’t like it.” Her faithful walk with the Lord since childhood had shaped in her a willingness to be led (as Peter) in places she might not have chosen for herself.
When Papa left the hospital, Jack took him to his new “home” with rooms decorated just as they had been in the house he and Momo had shared together. And Momo was there, full of love, full of care.
In an era when we so often are expected to think first of ourselves at the expense of those we love and who love us, I remember Momo’s “liking [her circumstance] even when she didn’t like it.” Of her willingness to follow Christ when it meant death to her personal desires. God’s grace and her selflessness empowered her to be the companion Dad needed for his last days, and her joy in the Lord sustained her.
Father, so many of us have wonderful spiritual heritages. As we follow the examples of those who have gone before us, help to remember that others are watching us. Glorify yourself in us. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.