Saturday, June 6, 2015

Around The Next Bend

So I thought I had my summer planned out. 

My lifestyle has become somewhat nomadic over the last several years.  I’ve been on the move a lot, seeing and experiencing more of the world.  The freedom and increased independence is fun!  Maybe this is why I am attracted to pirates?  Well, minus their black-hearted motives.  But anyway, as I was saying….

Between spending the summers serving families at His Ranch in Missouri, road trips with friends, living in a small halfway house for a season, working and gaining a circle of friends in a new town, a trip overseas, and moving back home temporarily, life has been  rich with variety and adventures!  There have been some low spots.  But for the most part, I am enjoying life immensely!  And yet there are also plenty of times where I wonder if I seriously need to do the responsible adult thing and stabilize in one place, become financially independent, perhaps seek further education in order to pursue a career for a more “secure” future.  People I trust and respect are on both sides of the issue.  I have a lot more thoughts on this subject which I hope to write in another post, but for today….. 

I want to share about the new twist my road has taken for the next few months or so.

I’ve been dreaming about resettling in another state eventually.  So I thought the smart thing to do this summer would be to work a better paying job and save money towards the goal of financial independence whenever I decide to make my move.  As much as I love the ranch ministry, I could never decide if that is where my heart wants to stay for the long haul.  So without closing the door on that chapter of my life altogether, I decided a year’s hiatus was in order.  I’d been working at a former job for the last several months, but had plans to find something different for the summer.  In a perfect world, it would be a job more conducive to my financial goals, while at the same time allowing me the freedom to leave in six to eight months!

Someone gave me the idea of looking for seasonal jobs with the area state park or metro-park system.  That sounded like an agreeable possibility to me, so I began to pursue a few leads.  I had actually been contacted about setting up an interview with a company that trains and hires lifeguards…one of those things I always thought would be a cool job! 

And then God threw in the twist.

My grandparents have been dealing with mounting health issues, as well as some other things that were increasingly concerning our family.  Things came to a head a few months ago when my grandpa’s stubborn skin rash on his leg turned out to be a serious internal infection which spread to his foot and culminated with gangrene in a couple of his toes!  The doctor who finally discovered the real problem wanted to take immediate action, which initially meant surgery to insert multiple stents in both legs to try to improve his poor circulation.  The first thing needed to heal an infection is healthy blood flow to the affected area.  However, the stents have not helped as much as they had hoped, and the infection had already gone so far that it is likely he will face amputation of the toes, at the very least. 

They live independently in a retirement community, but now the need is evident for them to either transition into assisted living or another situation where they have someone nearby to help them.  Several options were being explored, but it just wasn’t a good time for them to make a move.  It would have to be a rushed decision, and there would be all their belongings to deal with, not to mention the physical stress on my grandpa who is already weak.

So another option that was put on the table, kind of as a long-shot, was the question of whether any of the grandchildren might be looking for a change of scenery and available to move into the area temporarily as a personal assistant to our grandparents.  And just at the time I was about to begin pursuing new employment options, I got a message from a family member asking if I would possibly consider doing this! 
To shorten the story a bit, within about two weeks, no better options had really presented, and I had become convinced after praying and talking things over with family that this was the right course of action for me to take.
You would think I’d be pretty good at this pack up and move thing by now….well, not exactly.  For some reason it always turns out a lot harder than I think it should be!  More time consuming!  More stressful!  More distracting!  But I’ve done it before, and I did it again.

I quit my job, packed up my important stuff, and moved to northwest Maryland to live with my other grandpa, who is close enough for the daily commute to the retirement village in Pennsylvania. 

And here I am until further notice!

It’s a pretty great deal, actually.  I get my own room…I can clean the house and it won’t be messed up within a day by half a dozen people… I get to spend time with family I normally only see once or twice a year…I’m close to mountains…and I have a totally flexible schedule to boot!  My financial needs are being met as part of the arrangement.  So my “job” now is that I get to hang out with my grandparents, listen to their stories, feed them goodies, clean their house, play their piano, take them out in the sunshine, play in the dirt under the auspices of gardening, and just generally enjoy the challenge of making their lives more pleasant and care free!  I can make my own schedule, I’m not stuck in a mall under artificial lights all summer long (freedom!!!), and there’s lots of scope for finding adventures around these parts…think mountains, think the coast is only a few hours away….

With all this, of greatest value is the privilege of just being there for some of the most important people in my life.  I would not be here without my grandparents.  They had a huge hand in making me who I am.  Do you want to know the best part about that?  They have given me a wonderful heritage.  It is a heritage of strong faith in Jesus Christ and the freedom gained through the truth of His Word made living and active in me, first through the influence of my grandparents in the way they raised their children, and secondly through my parents who have carried on that legacy. 
God revealed to me that serving my grandparents now is a privilege and a small way that I can honor and thank them for the way their lives have imprinted on mine.  They gave themselves as living sacrifices to God, to our family, and to the church families they served for decades as pastor.  Their lives are full of richness; their memories, though fading, are filled with stories.  Sure, life has been tough, and our family has brokenness just like every family….but let the fruit of the tree speak for itself.  My grandparents’ two lives have multiplied into 21 grandchildren….most of whom are actively seeking and following Jesus today! 

My grandparents may not be rich, famous, or successful by worldly standards, but in my eyes they are great.  This time with them in their sunset years is precious to me.
Your legacy is the most valuable treasure you can leave to those who come behind you.  I want to remember that. 

Psalm 16:6  “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”