Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother

 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.   Exodus 20:12

   Rick and I will be married thirty seven years next month.  We have lived close to his family and worked with them all of our married life.  I have watched this commandment in action all these years, but never as much as the last few months.  Rick, and many of his family, are demonstrating what this commandment really means.

    Last summer we witnessed the slow decline of his parents.  Up to that point, they seemed to be the picture of health.  The two of them ran a successful business.  Rick's father invented a tool and a few other items that they made and sold on a regular basis.  At the age of 87 and 84, the two of them were quite independent, yet dependent at the same time.  Many of the required tasks had become too hard for Rick's father, so the sons took care of the job.  Rick's mother continued to help full time with tool production, as well as the bookkeeping. 

     We could see it was getting to be too much for his mom, and her back was giving her fits.  Yet, she continued to work like a woman twenty years younger.  Last August, the pain took over and she was relegated to her couch.  We were gone for three weeks on a trip and upon our return, we wondered who took his mother and who was this imposter?  Her physical decline in three short weeks was frightening.

    One morning in an attempt to help herself, she slipped and fell, breaking her hip.  Within twenty four hours she was in surgery.  The doctor recommended rehabilitation facility.  As hard as it was for Rick's parents to move into the center, they accepted it as their lot in life.  Rick's family was amazing in their support of their parents.  From the rehab center, they moved quite willingly to an assisted living home.  The siblings pulled together as they helped them move, get settled and clean out their former home. 

    Rick's mother suffers from Alzheimer's and his father has dementia.  Anger can arise at any given moment with his father.  I know, I have been on the receiving end of it.  For this reason, the best way I can honor him is to allow Rick to do what ever is needed for them, and for me to help when needed.  So most of the time I am in the background supporting my husband by listening.  I have given them rides to appointments, church and meetings when Rick is unable to go.  I have learned to hold my tongue when need be.  This is my way to keep this commandment.  And I do it with love, compassion and kindness for several reasons.  First, it is just easier to avoid a confrontation.  Second, God has commanded that I honor him.  When I married into the family he became my father as well.  Third, it is the right thing to do.  He has worked hard his entire life and I must respect him, my elder.  His brain isn't functioning properly, so therefore I cannot hold him responsible for everything that he utters.

     Honor thy father and thy mother.  Some days it is really hard and some days it is a joy.  But no one ever said life was going to be an easy walk.  I just know it's worth it.

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