A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dave's Deep Thoughts: A Favorite Aunt

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.

Sometimes it is good to bare the soul.
As for the other parts, that can be problematic.

She is my favorite aunt,
because she is my only surviving aunt,
endowed with a wonderful spirit and sense of humor.

Out of the generation that proceeded me,
my 95 year old Aunt Deb is the last one standing,
well sitting….in a wheelchair.

I visit her often.
I think of all the years that she and her generation cared for me,
and now  it is my time to care for her.

I  like to take her on trips from her nursing facility
to give her a change of scenery.

Because Aunt Deb’s legs do not function well anymore, 
transporting her is no easy feat.
It involves lifting her out of her wheelchair,
moving her body towards the car,
and lifting her into the car seat.

My daily trips to the gym pay off
as I count on my  upper body strength to lift and move her.
Getting  Aunt Deb to her co-pilot seat demands strength and stamina.

Recently, I took her on an extended lunch to visit my siblings.
It was a beautiful, sunny fall day,
the kind of day one desperately longs for in February.

She enjoyed seeing the fall foliage,
driving through places she knew from her earlier days,
and sharing all the latest news.

After enjoying a great lunch, 
soaking in the Indian Summer sun,
and sharing lots of laughter,
it was time to return home.

As I hoisted her and moved her into the car, she said,
I think you pulled my pants down
That would be the stretchy pants made fashionable
by most 95 year old nursing home residents.

I attempted an exploratory excursion to see if the situation could be rectified,
but when a 95 year old aunt was fully imbedded in a car bucket seat,
there was little room for adjustment.

Since the situation was not going to change in the hour drive home,
I assured her that the problem would be corrected upon arrival at the nursing home.

This promise, like many promises made during an electoral season,
was destined to be an empty promise.

When we arrived, I pulled her upright out of the car.
As I held on to her, I could surmise with one appropriately placed hand, 
that she had not been exaggerating.
And apparently, the friction created by car seat upholstery and comfy stretch pants
only caused the situation to be exasperated.

It was October,
it was harvest season, 
and my aunt was giving the world a full moon.

This might have been enough of a problem,
but it was then that I realized in my apprehension over my aunt’s state of undress,
that I had not put the brake on the wheelchair.

My aunt’s vehicle to freedom from this madman nephew 
had now rolled two feet away.

Not only was this practically problematic,
it also now allowed a voyeuristic view of the situation
to every passing driver coming up the street.

We received one thumbs up,
two car horn honks,
and several looks from people questioning if they should call the police.

It is times like these, 
when one has two hands holding up a nonagenarian,
that one truly wishes for another set of hands.
but this was not to be.

I had my arms wrapped around Aunt Dot
as if we were waltzing,
and this dance was not what either of us wanted.

It is amazing what one can do with one’s feet when in crisis.
Some people run, others kick box in self-defense.

I implored my aunt to take a step towards the wheel chair,
and in a moment of grace she was able to do so.

Spurred on by Aunt Dot's two step foxtrot,
I used one leg to pull the wheelchair towards her
and I brought her safely into the wheelchair.

With her still in a mode of undress,
I decided to let the nursing staff solve this wardrobe malfunction.

There are times when doing good that bad things  also happen..
It is that fear which sometimes keeps people from doing good…..
like reaching out to a person whose car has broken down along the road,
or stopping to help feed a hungry person,
or being available to someone who has suffered a tremendous loss.

Bad things happen everywhere.
The evening news will daily confirm that.
And often bad things need to happen before good things can occur.
When something bad happens,
it is often difficult to see that something good can come out of the experience.
But negative events can often lead to something  positive and uplifting.

It is the very center of Christian faith that Friday turns in Sunday.

Jesus knew that bad things happen to good people.
A man, blind since birth, was an opportunity for revealing God’s glory. 

The next time you have the opportunity to do good,
but fear negative results, remember when walking with Christ,
bad never has the final answer.

The nurse, unknowing of my Aunt’s problem, greeted her and said,
“I’ll bet it was chilly outside.”

Aunt Dot, in her wonderful sense of humor smiled and said,
“More than you know.”

That is the final answer and why she is my favorite aunt.

Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents,
but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in Him.’ “
                                                                                                 John 9:3

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