Archive for August, 2010

Keeping the Faith

By Kathy NickersonAugust 30th, 2010family, The Bible9 Comments

I have started the last two Sundays by driving thirty miles through the country to take my mother-in-law to services at what used to be her home church. At ninety, she doesn’t have much control over her own life anymore. She makes her home in the spare rooms of her children. Florida in the winter, Missouri in the summer. And she has to plan all her activities (such as the hairdresser or the doctor and even her daily walks) around our schedules. She is sweet and gracious about this fact. Even about the irritation of not having full control of the thermostat. Although we try to compromise, she still freezes at our house. She wraps up in a blanket with a book, or a puzzle, or another afghan to crochet and smiles about it all.

The church we visited is in a town where she and I lived as next door neighbors for more than a decade. We shared a yard, a mailbox, a driveway, and a daily rhythm of life. Even then we didn’t go to the same church. My father-in-law used to say he raised all four of his children to be good Methodists, but not a one of them took. Though none of us sat in their pew as adults, we all live their faith. That is why it was easy for me to miss my own worship service and sit beside her singing the hymns of a heritage we share.

Her friends were overjoyed to see her and showered her with hugs and kisses. As we drove up the road for the second week she said, “I’m not expecting the same greeting I got last time. I’ll just be old-hat today.”

But, she was wrong. The church building itself seemed to smile when she walked in the door.

At the end of the service, we joined hands to sing a prayer. It was a struggle for her to stand and practically impossible for her to cross an aisle to complete the circle. She would have been content just to stand there and be a part. But a spunky teenager from the next row stepped up, stretched her arms wide, and grabbed my mother-in-law’s wrinkled hand. As we sang, I prayed that some of my mother-in-laws faithfulness would rub off on this girl. That she would stand someday, ninety years old, in a sanctuary where she, too, had prayed, sung, and served for a lifetime.

Lord, let it be.

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Dancing on Dirt

By Kathy NickersonAugust 17th, 2010Friendship, work4 Comments

Future Home of Calvary Medical Center

I wish I could explain what this picture of dirt means to me. If I were a Photoshop wizard, I’d have drawn in a sign that says, “Future Home of Calvary Medical Center.” Then I’d put twinkling lights and shiny tinsel all around the edges, because it feels a lot like Christmas to me.

When we first moved to this community, my husband set up his medical offices in four rooms of a small motel. Two years later, I became his receptionist and office manager. This has been a dream since our first date 36 years ago, so we were quite willing to start small on this adventure.

Our waiting room is a hallway, and our filing cabinet is in the bathroom. The practice has grown a lot in the last few years (praise God) and now six of us share a small office space. The distraction of everybody doing their jobs in such confined space makes me a bit crazy some days. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to bang my head on that filing cabinet someday. But, we have tried to be patient. There isn’t much money to be made in country medicine, and new buildings are expensive.

Last week, though, the site was staked out and the dirt was turned! Every day, this bare field changes just a little more. I drive by twice a day to see what progress has been made. Within a couple of months, we plan to move into a modular unit on the site while our new building goes up. Our waiting room will have a view of the lake, and our filing cabinet will have a room of its own!!!

My friend, Tina, stopped by the other day and said, “What is that I see up the road? Is that dirt being moved?! Is that a clinic going up?”

“Why, yes it is,” I said.

Tine grabbed my hand, “Let’s just go up there and dance on the dirt,” she said. “Come on, I’ll dance with you.”

We didn’t go that day. (Partly because I needed to keep working so we can pay for the building and partly because I’m not sure the community could take the sight of two middle-aged women dancing in the field on a Tuesday morning.)

My joy increased twenty-fold, though. It is one thing to be proud of your dirt. It’s another thing entirely to have a friend willing to dance with you on it.

Thanks, Tina.

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This is Not a Fairy Tale

By Kathy NickersonAugust 8th, 2010family, happy endings, mercy5 Comments

This past weekend felt something like a fairy tale. The house we rented was rather castle-like with its tall windows, spacious views, and curving staircase. Conversations around the table, songs around the piano, and laughter around the pool all seemed to indicate we are living happily-ever-after.

We certainly look the part of a family unscathed by troubles. But, that would not be true. The only reason our life resembles a fairy tale is because we’ve fought some dragons. And we won. That’s what we were celebrating this weekend. Victory over illness, addiction, cancer, grief, strife, and fear. So many battles in just the last five years alone. So many hours of darkness pierced by glorious light. So many prayers and so many tears.

We ended our vacation in the room pictured here (with Dan at the piano) and we sang “Look What the Lord Has Done,” and “Oh, How He Loves Us,” and “Amazing Grace.” We talked and wept and prayed and laughed pretty much all at the same time. And we prayed for some of the battles yet to come – babies to be birthed and surgeries to undergo – knowing the victories come only by God’s grace and always by His help. And, that is a really happily-ever-after kind of ending.

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