Congratulations to the new parents…my sister and me!!
I have heard many people say that they have become parents to their parents – who, as they’ve grown older – begin to act like children. I pooh-poohed their comments. “My parents will never act like that.” I was wrong.
Before I go any further, let me make it perfectly clear: I love my parents very much. This post is not a criticism of them, it’s not a complaint; it’s an observation of what I’ve learned over the last several weeks.
Many years ago, I realized I needed to journal – write down events that happened to me, lessons that God showed me, even prayers that I prayed. So, I’m writing this down today just as much for me as for those of you who kindly take the time to read this post.
It will happen. As your parents grow older, they will become your children. They will act very much like five or six year old kids. Oh, they won’t get on the floor and kick their legs and scream at the top of their lungs, but they will get mad. They will pout. They will act and say things to you that you never thought you would hear them say or see them do.
I can remember my maternal grandmother as she got older and sicker. She had congestive heart failure and it slowed this very active woman down. She didn’t want to be sick. She didn’t want to be in the bed. And she certainly did not want to be in the hospital. She was a wonderful Christian woman, but there were times you would never have known it. She began cussing – sometimes worse than a sailor! She said things and did things we never thought we would hear her say or do!
It is obvious that my parents, especially my father, realize they are losing their independence. It’s harder for them to move around the house, much less, go outside. The last vestige of independence my father had—driving his car—has gone. Even though he might have driven only to the grocery store, purchased a few items and drove back home, it was an opportunity for him to leave the house for a short period. It is incredibly frustrating to him. He sees himself getting older, unable to do the things he could do—just a few months ago—and it irritates and upsets him to no end. I can’t imagine not being able to do what I want to do, go where and when I want to go. I’m sure if I live long enough to lose my car keys, my independence, I will be just as frustrated, even more so, than my dad is today.
Thus, the second thing you need to know is that you will need patience galore. Just about the time you think you’re running out of patience, you will need to pray for more. “But as for you, O man of God, flee from all these things; aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christlike), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart.” (I Timothy 6:11)
The verse that applies to all of us regarding our parents, of course, is the one we all know:
"Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” Deut. 5:16
When we honor our father and mother as God commands, I believe that not only will we live long and our life will go well for us, but we will have the patience, mercy and grace that we need as we “parent” our parents.
May God richly bless each of you this Father’s Day Weekend as you honor your father (and your mother).
© Edwina E. Cowgill June 2010