“Filling in the Gaps – Part Two”
Over July 4 weekend I was able to go visit my Mother. She is 90 and is still in her own home. The family had a conference a year ago about moving her to assisted living. Thankfully, that did not happen. Since she still lives at home, we are still able to visit her. She can still keep up a flower garden and continue some of her regular activities. While I was feeling guilty for not working faster to get her moved, now I am grateful that God slowed us down and prevented the move from happening. Mother is quite safe and content where she is.
During my visit, Mother described a phone call she had from a friend. In college, Mother attended nurses’ training. The friend that called her was also in nurses’ training. The two compared their memories. Both women remember having to take a turn on the polio ward in the late 1940s/early 1950s.
Neither woman remembers wearing any protective gear other than their carefully washed, starched and pressed nursing uniforms.
Both remember washing their hands. A lot.
Neither woman caught polio.
Both are still alive.
Both were asked by their nursing supervisor after their rotation on the ward, “were you afraid of catching it?” Both answered “no.” They both expressed more concern for their patients than themselves.
Mother’s story is another reminder to me of how God fills in the gaps. I mention that they do not remember wearing protective gear. Please do not read this as support for not wearing masks or using protective gear during the pandemic we are experiencing today. I am a strong advocate of masks. I wear a mask when I go out and even gloves when I shop for groceries. I point out their memories as a way to point out how God protected them in ways they did not even know at the time they needed to be protected.
Today, we understand the usefulness of protective gear. So we must do our part. And then, trust God to protect us from what we do not know or understand as of today. I find that trusting God is easier when I have a scripture memorized that I can repeat to myself any time fear washes over me.
One of the scriptures that helps me the most during times like this is Psalm 23, especially verse 4. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.”
The rod and staff refer to a shepherd’s rod with a hook at the end for pulling a lost sheep back into the flock. A way for a shepherd to guide and protect his flock. This imagery is perfect right now.
I was actually brave enough to also visit my hairdresser this month. (I’m on a roll!) We had a conversation about how long the pandemic is going on and will go on. We both were reminded of driving into a tunnel. We no longer see the light behind us, at the entrance to the tunnel. And we are still not far enough through the tunnel to see the light at the exit. We are in the darkest part of the tunnel right now.
I hear the emotions that go with this dark space in conversations I have with clients, family, coworkers and friends. We are tired. We are irritable and weary. We just want this to end.
It is so helpful right now to remember that God is our Good Shepherd. His rod and staff will comfort us even in the darkness. And He will fill in the gaps by protecting us so we can be there for future generations, just like my Mother and her friend.
This week find a scripture that speaks to you and commit it to memory. Try looking through the book of Psalms. Many of these speak to going through difficult times, trusting in God and rejoicing in how God answers the writer.
A dear friend reminded me that for every story of survival there is also a story of loss. Even in the loss, we can trust that our Good Shepherd will still provide for us. God’s comfort can carry us through.
Many years ago, a friend shared this poem with me, and I frequently share it with members of the grief support groups. I hope this brings comfort for you as well.
I came to the swift raging river
And the roar held the echo of fear.
I said, “Oh Lord give me wings to cross over,
If you are as you promised quite near.
But He said, “Trust the grace I am giving,
All pervasive, sufficient for you.
Take my hand we will face this together.
But, my plan is not over …
By Lee Webber
I wish like anything we could fly over this and get to the end. I know we must face this together with each other and with God. I trust that God will fill in the gaps for each of us and He will bring us through.
Peace and health to you.