Monday, October 29, 2012

Beauty in Seasons

I've heard it said that there is beauty in every season.

Each season holds its own challenges, but also it's own joys.

I don't know about you, but for me it's much easier to notice, and focus on, the challenges rather than the joy and beauty that each season brings.

My grandfather (we call him Papa), has Parkinson's disease.  The past few weeks have been anything but joy-filled.

In case you aren't familiar with this disease, here are some facts:

Parkinson disease (PD) is a progressive movement disorder marked by tremors, rigidity, slow movements (bradykinesia), and posture instability. It occurs when cells in one of the movement-control centers of the brain begin to die for unknown reasons. (

Some symptoms that you might see are slowed motion, rigidity of muscles, tremors, changes in speech (slurring, hesitating, repeating words), Impaired posture, imbalance, problem with automatic movements and changing of facial expressions, lack of blinking, difficulty walking, stooping posture, shuffling gait, postural instability, impaired balance, impaired coordination, and difficulty swallowing.

One of the most frustrating things for me is watching Papa attempt to do something that he use to do so well.  He knows how to do it, but his brain and body won't work together to let him do it anymore.


We were down at his house a few weeks ago singing around the piano while he sat in his recliner listening.  My papa, the best piano player you will ever hear, struggled to get out of the chair, "I recognize that tune.  I want to play."

I stood to the side, knowing that he wouldn't be able to do it, fighting back tears.  We moved him to the bench where he sat and tried his best to bang out the notes.
I snapped this picture because it's been years since he has even sat at the piano bench.  The last time he got so frustrated that he couldn't play, he declared he'd never do it again.  I wanted so bad to snap my fingers and make his brain work to tell his fingers what to do, but his body simply couldn't move to play the notes that his brain recognized as a 'familiar tune'.

On Monday (two weeks ago) he told my mom to pick out his burial suit.

Tired. Done. Fight over.

On Friday of the same week, he fell.  Within an hour his fever spiked, vitals dropped, and he became completely unresponsive.  He was put on a ventilator and all family was called to the hospital.  "Papa has taken a turn for the worse.  You need to head here as soon as you can."

Not my favorite phone call.

Amazingly, he is home today with home health and still fighting.  That long weekend was overwhelming, but it taught me some things.

There is beauty in every season... Sometimes you just have to be intentional in looking for it.

While I hate to watch my Papa helplessly live, I love to watch my father selflessly give.  I can't even put to words how beautiful it is to watch your own dad drop his work schedule and any "hobbies" to serve his father-in-law.  He is truly being the hands and feet of Jesus.

The nurse asked my mother the day we were leaving the hospital, "Is that man that was just in here your husband?  Because they have the sweetest relationship.  It has been a blessing to watch them interact."  I wish that you all could watch them interact as well.  It is truly a sweet thing to see.

 (My sister holding my papa's hand - one of his favorite things to do)

The truth is, Papa will not get better... he will continue to get worse.  And while that seems cruel to me, I know that He is good and there is beauty to be found.  That doesn't mean there won't be tears and frustration, but it does mean that He will hold us on the days that we can't hold ourselves, give us more grace, be our strength, and open our eyes to things we never imagined to see.

I am choosing today to trust that He will show me the beauty.

Do you need to adjust your thinking and focus in your current season of life?
Do you need to ask for intentional eyes?
Start today believing that He will show you. 
He. Is. Good.