Sunday, November 29, 2009

Reasons to be thankful

Tonight is the last night of Thanksgiving break. This year, for the first time in recorded history, the schools decided to let the kids off for the entire week leading up to Thanksgiving. After our hectic semester, all five of the Christensen clan were looking forward to a break from the hectic schedule. This week, however, would not turn out to be the week that we had planned. To begin, Kerri's Grandmother had been hospitalized some weeks before and is not doing well. During this break, Memaw's condition would continue to deteriorate to the point that homecare was no longer an option and Ann (Kerri's mom) would be force to make the painful decision to put Memaw into a nursing home. Both Kerri and Ann, along with a wonderful handful of ladies from the Church exhausted themselves helping Memaw around the clock while she was in the hospital. Being blind and very frail, the stay was particularly frightening for Memaw.

In addition, over the weekend, Nathan's normal winter cough took a turn for the worse and on Monday afternoon, the doctor decided to admit Nathan to the hospital for low oxygen levels caused by an aggravated Asthma attack. And so, instead of a few relaxing days at home before heading up to my Mom's for a Thanksgiving with family, we all settled in for what we hoped would not be a "long winters rest".

If you have never spent time in a hospital, count your blessings. Aside from the illness and worry that accompany your stay, most hospitals are equipped with time altering fields at the doors. When you enter, minutes turn into days and hours turn into weeks. Add to that a friendly little oxygen tent and the seconds turn into months. Nathan spent two full days under a clear plastic tent not much larger than the top half of a twin bed. All in all it was a pretty traumatic experience for Nathan and the rest of us as well.

We were fully expecting and even began making plans for a hospital picnic of Turkey sandwiches and  tupperware servings of stuffing and mashed potatoes. but Wednesday morning Nathan's oxygen levels were up and within two hours of waking, we were walking out of the hospital!

Playing it safe, we spent Thanksgiving in Carlsbad with Kerri's parents. It turned out to be a blessing because they were both also very worn out from weeks in the hospital with Memaw. Friday morning we shot up to Los Lunas and enjoyed Thanksgiving leftovers, time with Grandma and while the girls went to town to see the ballet, Nathan and I spent a good evening with Uncle Bob: eating pizza, cleaning guns and watching TV. Without the aide of the hospital's time altering device, the later part of the week flew by and here we are at 9PM on the Sunday before school resumes.

Sometimes, it takes an emotional roller coaster to remind you of just how blessed you are. We like so many others this fall are feeling the pinch of time and money that don't seem to last as long as they used to. That can be stressful, but this week we were reminded that even if the job dries up and moves away and the house and all our possessions are gone in a puff, as long as we have our loved ones, we are more blessed than we will ever know.

Come to think of it, even if our Lord were to take our loved ones from us, we will someday be reunited with them and the pain of loss that we feel now will be gone in a flash. That is of course contingent on our knowing our Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, but then, having Baptized all three of the kids myself, I  have that confidence.

As bitter sweet as life can be, it is nice to know that in the end, the bitter will vanish and all that will be left is the sweet... for ever and ever.