Solitude is the soil in which genius is planted, creativity grows, and legends bloom; faith in oneself is the rain that cultivates a hero to endure the storm,
and bare the genesis of a new world, a new forest.
“Still water or sparkling?” asked the waitress. Since being in Europe, I’ve been asked this question a million times. I take for granted that water is brought to the table routinely at restaurants back home.
It wasn’t until I sat alone in the park behind the Dominican Monastery in Uhersky Brod, CZ, that I stilled myself to reflect on all that has happened while traveling back in time, metaphorically speaking, to the home country of my maternal lineage.
The words of the waitress wafted back.
“Still or Sparkling?”
I always answered the same.
I need still water. The still water promised in Psalm 23.
On a daily basis I need a deep well from which to draw Rivers of Living Water. It seems easier when I’m away from home. From responsibilities. From the cares of life. It isn’t as though I don’t have cares here, quite the contrary.
Four days into this journey, at around midnight or so, Candace says, “Well…….” with a sullen tone lingering in the air, “I just got a Facebook message from Grant.”
The rest of her sentence is a blur. All I heard was, “Grandma’s in the ER, again, having possibly suffered a stroke. She took a nap around 4 pm and woke up disoriented, unable to process or speak intelligible words, and she is very, very confused. One minute she knows who we are, the next minute she thinks it is 1930. Sometimes it sounds like she’s speaking German.”
Immediately I called my son from our Skype account….phone to phone.
” Hey Mom,” he said. “First, I want you to enjoy your trip. I don’t think you need to come home.”
“Okay, tell me what’s happening,” I hesitantly asked.
The rest of our conversation(s) were filled with a minutia of details, as I had been primary caregiver for the past year. I asked to speak to my mom, hoping to hear her voice one more time, just in case.
“Hello,” she said, with a crackle in her weak voice.
“Hi Mom, it’s Janell,” I said.
“Where are you?” she responded. “I’m back in the hospital….I don’t want to be here.”
“I know, but it’s all going to be okay. I want you to know we are all here and we are looking out for you. It’s going to be okay.”
My sister got on the phone next. She later told me the minute my mom got off the phone with me, she didn’t remember who I was.
After helping them know where the Living Will and all other necessary paper work was, we ended our conversation.
At this time it was about 2am where I was, so I tried desperately to sleep, knowing the next day entailed moving from Prague to Uhersky Brod.
Immediately, Candace and I prayed. Tears fell softly as I wasn’t sure what the next morning would hold.
Would she make it through the night? Was it a stroke?
My heart raced as I felt my momma’s anxiety and fear. I knew she was so scared. Confused.
Sandwiched, yet again, between desiring to hold my weak momma’s hand and proceed onward with my own daughter on the journey towards understanding our lineage. Torn between the past and the present. I sincerely believe this was a pivotal moment for me. For my family.
God crafts the details. Carefully. Intentionally.
My sister retired from her teaching career of 33 years in June. She is now available to share in the caregiving. Her strength at this time was now something I could lean on. Something I could depend on. I can now live a little more life. This will require me letting go and letting her. Not an easy task, I must honestly confess. Grant is home from college and from his soccer career. He was present and stepped up to the plate. In my absence, he calmed my momma and held her hand. And, to be honest, I think she may have liked that even more (smile).
As I closed my eyes, I remembered Psalm 23 and whispered, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.”
I need still water. Water that restores my soul. Keeps me calm during all the chaotic, confusing times in life. Times when I am torn in two.
The still water promised in Psalm 23.
My prayer for you today is found in this restorative video I found. May each word sung and spoken be a cup of still water for your soul.