Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Don't Like Weakness

I spent time this week with my father. He's in a nursing home in my home town of Greenville, Pennsylvania. He's been there since falling and breaking a hip nearly two years ago. We've tried to convince Dad to move closer to us, but at age 88, he's determined to live out his life where he grew up and lived nearly all of his life. So my monthly visits consist of driving five hours, spending the day with him, spending the night at a local motel, getting up and spending the morning with him before driving home. I do enjoy my time with him.

Dad is getting weaker, and I don't like it. He's a man who worked hard all of his life. He worked for General Motors for 44 years in a factory. He served in the South Pacific during World War II. It's only been in the last 6 or 7 years that we've watched him become frail. It's hard to watch him as he is confined to a wheel chair, totally dependent upon others for nearly everything in his life. He has to be assisted with everything. It's hard to see this strong man in this stage of life.

I don't like what I see. And physically, I don't like what I feel. I'm not that old (I don't consider 52 to be old, no matter what you think!), but even now I face limitations that I never thought I would ever experience. At times I fear that I will some day be just like my dad.

But as I write this, I'm also reminded of a spiritual truth. Unless I am totally dependent upon God, I can never become the person He intended me to be. It is only in my weakness that I experience His strength. Do I struggle with this? Yes I do, and perhaps you do as well. I too often depend on my talents or intelligence to pull me through. More than ever I need to allow Him to be my strength. How about you?


  1. Dave, so much of what u say here goes through my mind regularly. I notice at 45 I have limitations I never thought i would have. i dont like it. i think of my kids the most as i see these limitations. As dads, we are superman to our kids. what will they think when those frail days come. should we welcome them as an alternative to dieing early? IDK, but its nice to be able to talk about it to others. I guess misery does love company. I Love you man!

  2. Dave,
    I know what you are talking about. Mom and Dad were just down visiting and to see them so weak and frail was truly sad. They are 80 and 81 and you can see the mileage of a hard life of farming catching up to them. And just as you said, I see myself and the limitations that I start to see at 44 and knowing that, God willing, I will be in the same situation as Mom and Dad in relying on others for the same things I was able to do myself for so many years. I have to submit my weakness to Christ. And that is such a hard thing to do. Just like one of my nieces used to say when she was little. "I can do it myself!" In my weakness, I have to rely on Christ's strength to carry me through life. I always laugh at people when they say that christianity is just a crutch for those that are weak. They're right! I'm not strong enough. I have to rely on the "crutch" of Christ to get me through this life. I just praise Him that He wants me to rely solely on Him.

  3. Well, at least Grampy knows that his son loves him. Even though he can't physically or emotionally allow himself to leave Pennsylvania to be closer with you, everyone knows that your monthly visits are a treasure to him.
    I think you're in a phase of grieving the change where "what if?" and "when?" are the haunting questions. I, too, grieve change. I remember feeling so often overwhelmed by life/universe/existence/world affairs issues. I always looked to you & Mom for reassurance that "everything (was) going to be okay," and "we (would be) safe." Now that I'm a Mom, I have to muster up the courage to be convincing enough for Micah. How will I do it? I don't know. I don't want to strike fear in his heart from my weakness, but I know that God will give us what we need to be the strength for those we're taking care of.

  4. Many great comments here. Thanks for responding! Dennis, we don't walk this way alone. Keep working at being a hero to your children! Dave, Jesus is the best "crutch" we can have. And Sarah, you are a great mommy! You have what it takes to let Micah know that everything will be ok. God gives the strength.