How Do You Handle A New Normal?

My friend could walk and feed herself a year ago.

She could hug her husband, hold her grandchildren, use her mobile phone, drive a car. Pull the bedspread over her shoulders when she was cold at night.

Now Vicki’s life is a new kind of normal.

Physical therapy, medical appointments, caregivers, pain pills, temporarily living with her husband in their married daughter’s home, learning to walk by faith and not by sight.

Doctors predict improvement, but rehabilitation is a slow process. There are never guarantees in life, but there is gratitude. And Vicki is the first to praise God’s mercies and provision in this new normal.

My friend, Terrie, and I visited our mutual friend. A married couple also came. We gathered around the dining room table to eat pancakes, talk, laugh, listen, pray. Tried not to cry.

But it was no small matter—and I doubt it went unnoticed—that a stranger sat among us. The caregiver tried to be inconspicuous as she fed Vicki, waited for her to chew, and swallow. Wiped her mouth and held a glass of orange juice to her lips.

Before we left, Terrie offered to massage Vicki’s feet with lotion.

Vicki smiled. “That’d be great. Thank you.”

Terrie sat on the floor in front of the wheelchair. She removed Vicki’s tennis shoe and compression sock. We mentioned the blue polish on her toenails. My eyes watered (thus the blurry photo) as I watched my friend gently massage and caress Vicki’s feet and the calves of her weak legs.

I thought of the woman in the Bible—who’d been forgiven much—washing Jesus’ feet with her tears; drying them with her long hair.

Did my two friends view this foot massage as a humble, sacred moment?

I snapped a photo to remember how quickly life can change. A visual reminder that no act of kindness is too small if we want others to know that we care.

I wondered how Vicki felt, confined in a wheelchair, allowing people to feed her and massage her feet. Did she swallow her pride? Mentally beat her breast, ‘Why me, Lord?’ Or did she feel loved and cherished?

I can’t speak for Vicki—and wouldn’t share her thoughts if I knew—but I can say this.

From the time we met, this soft-spoken woman’s been a prayer warrior. I’ve seen her rely on the Lord Jesus to sustain her in previous trials, and her stalwart faith hasn’t changed.

Vicki told us that her grandson called her “a Bible-reading Grandma.” She can’t hold her Bible now, but God’s Word upholds her.

For years ago, Vicki chose to immerse herself in scripture. She learned to trust in a sovereign God long before this storm blew into her life. And by God’s grace, she will not be moved even in this.

Have You Felt Invisible?

Have you ever felt invisible?

ID-100111764 Even though you were in a room with people who knew you?

I remember a little girl in kindergarten. One day, during recess, she went to the edge of the playground and sat with her back to her peers.

She said, “I just wanted to know if anyone would notice.”

Imagine being that five-year-old girl. Surrounded by classmates who jumped rope, climbed monkey bars, and laughed—oblivious to her.

Or if they noticed the solitary figure, they weren’t concerned enough to ask her, “Why are you sitting alone?”

They didn’t call her name or beg, “Come and play.”

Who knows what motivated that little girl to sit alone with her back to the crowd. Did the need for affirmation, backfire? Did she build walls of self-protection?

What painful thoughts stabbed her as she waited, and waited, wanting…

To be Noticed. To be Missed.

How does it feel to be invisible?

To hear people talk around you, but act like you’re not there. To have someone ask you a question without waiting for the answer. Or never listen to your words.

Once, there was a man who suffered from seisures, possessed by demons. He lived alone in the tombs, outside a town. People thought him mad, and tried to chain him. But he escaped, and ran wild.

So they avoided him. Pretended he wasn’t there.

Did he feel invisible?

Then one day a Stranger came along and saw the man. The Stranger took pity, and healed him with His words.The people were amazed when they saw the man, in his right mind, sitting at the Stranger’s feet.

How did this happen? Who is this Stranger?

Fearful, the people told the Stranger, “Go away. Leave us alone!”

But imagine the joy of that man who had lived alone among the dead, and was now set free?

helping_others1

A life forever changed because Someone noticed. Someone cared.

One act of kindness–even from a stranger–can make a difference. Because maybe deep down, inside of us, we’re like that five-year-old girl.

We want Someone to notice.

Can you remember a time someone made a difference in  your life?

Do you know WHO the Stranger was who healed the man?

(Woman Image: Courtesy of Frame Angel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)