To Help or Not to Help. . .

That is the question . . .at least it is one that arises often in our home.

For those of us who live in a family where one spouse has a disability it can be a fine line to discern.

When Jerry drops something and it is out of his reach do I automatically stop what I am doing and go pick it up, or do I leave it for him to recover with his reachers?  Is there a certain amount of time he should try before calling “uncle” and I help?

What about putting on his coat?  These cold winter days tighten CP (cerebral palsy) muscles quickly making it harder and more time consuming for Jerry to put his coat on.  Should I stop what I am doing to help him?  Should he work it through on his own because when he goes to put it on after leaving the appointment he is headed to I won’t be there and he’ll have to be able to do it alone?

The question goes both ways.  question-2309042_1920

What about for me – when I am missing one or two items to complete the menu?  Do I ask Jerry, who is already out, to stop and get them at the grocery store even though it will add at least 45 minutes to his time frame, or do I run out and be back in 15 minutes?  Should I be calling him when I am a few minutes from home giving him a heads up that I will need to his help to carry in the groceries?  I could certainly unload them on my own, and likely even faster; meanwhile he has had to bookmark where he is in his reading, research or other work.  Is it worth it?

We don’t struggle with questions like these because of whose role we think it might be.  Rather the question come in thinking through what is the tradeoff?  And the answer to that question varies day to day, and sometimes hour to hour.

There is the truth that I can help Jerry gain a significant amount of time in his day by assisting him with some of his personal care needs, household tasks and typing.  Yet each time I assist him to gain time I lose a bit of time in my day. Likewise, he gives up some of his precious time to help me.  Somedays that works just fine.  Other days it can be a bit like sandpaper.

We often talk about how much is enough when it comes to money.  That is a needful conversation.  It is rarer that we talk about how much is enough when it comes to time, which perhaps is a more valuable commodity than money.

feedback.jpgWe don’t pretend to have the answers, though we sure wish we did.  How do you handle these types of disability accommodations and time in your family?



Timing is Everything

While reading Ecclesiastes 3 recently my thoughts were drawn back to our courtship.  Though we had met face to face, most of our dating happened long distance – Jerry in Indiana and me in California.  Phone, email, and a monthly visit made by one of us were our life.  Once we got engaged we had to make the decision about which one of us would move where and when.  I would want to come up with those a

nswers NOW (or really several weeks prior to now), and Jerry would patiently say to me, “Kairos not Chronos.”

He would remind me that”chronos” refers to chronological timing, and  “kairos” is the Greek word for “the fullness of God’s time.”  Clearly though I wanted the decisions made NOW (chronos), deep down I wanted even more to know that we were acting in kairos, even if I didn’t like to wait.

So back to this week;  I was reading Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NLT)

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

I found such comfort, even amidst some rebuke in this passage.  While I have to live within the confines of chronos in this world, it’s such an encouragement to know that there is more to this life than the minute by minute press of time and deadlines.  In the fullness of God’s time there is no rush, no hurry, no “oops, I forgot that.”

When we travel I reset my clock and my body to the new time zone.  Ecclesiastes 3 reminds me I am due for an even more important time change;  recalibrating my calendar, my thoughts, and my attitude to kairos.

airplane figurine

99 Beautiful Places

99 Beautiful Places is a puzzle that I received as a Christmas gift this year (thanks again C).  I started it a little over a week ago.  I put some time into it on my own.  The next day “our girls” (daughters of our heart*; you can read an early part of that story here) came for a visit. After dinner we gathered in the den and B and I worked on the puzzle while A and Jerry watched and chatted.  We made good progress on the puzzle, but even more we made good progress in continuing to grow our family ties.

As always happens with any kind of a visit, the time came for the girls to leave.  I spent a little more time on the puzzle, but it’s just not as fun working on it alone.  As the week progressed I was telling God how I would love to see our dear DooH*again soon.  That very evening B texted and said they’d like to come back again to visit and work on the puzzle together.  Wo hoo!

This past weekend we enjoyed other afternoon together.  With B, A and I all focusing on it we were able to complete the puzzle.  The title of the puzzle fits -there are indeed 99 beautiful places from around the world highlighted on it.  Twenty two of those places I have already visited, another twenty six are on my travel wish list.

As lovely as all those places are, or seem to be, I can tell you they missed at least one!  To me the most beautiful place is with those I love.  Whether that’s at Christmas with my nieces and nephews, sharing dinner with my sister and her husband, playing a game with Jerry or doing a puzzle or coloring with B and A; that’s true beauty!