At times, praise and worship come easy. Not just because things are going great and smooth or because I’m getting what I want. In fact, often in the darkest storms, I find the most compelling reasons to be thankful.
That’s not always how it is, though.
Our family is facing issues that are unfamiliar and I feel, once again, the lamest of rookies. My mom is well into the mystery of dementia or Alzheimer’s or a form of memory loss yet to be named. Her eyesight is failing her as are her ears, her sense of balance, her joints, muscles, and her will.
She is getting the absolutely best care possible. She is safe and warm. She is blessedly assured of a heavenly home and can’t wait to see my dad and Jesus.
But all of those things combined do not lessen her despair. And they do not make up for the feelings of helplessness and loss experienced by those who stand by, watching it all happen.
So I search for peace and contentment. I play the right music, avoid most of the caustic nature and chaos of social media, and clean up the kitchen to the white noise of a rerun the 80’s.
When I’m with my mom, I nod my head a lot and answer repeated questions. I hold her frail hand when she is overcome with anxiety and confusion. I help her adjust to the roommate she did not choose. I struggle to determine what is really real … and what is her real.
After yesterday’s final move into the shared room, I am exhausted, almost defeated by the unknown. I’m at a loss about how to reassure and encourage a woman left with no feelings of independence, save the ability to cautiously follow her walker to the next chair by the next window.
After a lifetime of worker and helper, she can’t find her purpose. She is mortified when her failing memory presents as limited intelligence. And I have no winsome words and very few encouraging truths. Holding myself together, hiding my own sense of sadness and despair, takes all of my energy and most of my brain.
So today, as I read Psalm 65, a poetic song of wonder and worship, I was overwhelmed by verse 8. David wrote,
Dawn and dusk take turns
calling, “Come and worship.”
The dawn and sunset shout for joy!
(The Living Bible)
Sunrise brilliance and sunset beauty
both take turns singing their songs of joy to you.
(The Passion Translation)
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.
(English Standard Version)
Thou shalt make the East and the West to rejoice.
(1599 Geneva Bible)
Your deeds bring shouts of joy
from one end of the earth to the other.
(Good News Bible)
While we search for answers and reasons and explanations, God continues to give us the beauty and splendor of the ordinary and regular. He reminds us every single day of His power and, with it, His love for us.
While I continue to search for what to do for my mom and where to find peace – I often forget that grace, the free and unmerited favor of God available to all just for the asking, is just that… free.
And what could be more peaceful and life-giving than the favor of God?
The title my talented friend Sue Braunsky chose for her original photo above is Resting in Stillness. Resting. Stillness. Captured perfectly in the image of a sunset over the calmest of lakes.
Sunset and its sister Sunrise beg for shouts of joy, calling us to come and worship. Not because of what happened today or yesterday. Not because of anything we received or any problem resolved.
Not because it’s all good. But because it’s God.
I’m in deep weeds. So are most of you, in your own way. But that’s what they are – just weeds. They cannot compare to the majesty of the sunrise and sunset, East and West, morning and evening, every single day.
All we have to do is look up, worship, and rejoice.