Archive for June, 2014

Choices in Life – How Many Do We Really Need?

life choicesThe weather in Nevada is starting to heat up, so it’s decided we shouldn’t push ourselves too hard. Hawthorne, Nevada, is the next town, but I fear there will be little there for us to choose from. I find that to be somewhat true once we arrive in Hawthorne, but I also discover that life doesn’t really require a lot of choices. We humans think we do, but when you stop and allow God to show you the way, the playing field becomes very small. And you discover your life is easier to handle; less decisions that need to be made.

Finding an RV park was the first easy choice for the day. After checking the ratings of the various campgrounds, it was decided the Whiskey Flats RV Park was the place for us. It rated high in reviews, had decent size pads, and the bathhouse was highly rated by previous visitors. AND they were close enough for pizza deliver, which we all decided sounded like a good P L A N, another good choice for the day. Plus it was located right off the highway we were on. One really couldn’t ask for more.

But then God must have decided that we all needed to make a few more choices in life for He gave us a big one to make. Once the fifth wheel was setup, Bart did his usual visiting with the neighbors. The ones right next to us was a young couple with two young kids. The kids were fascinated with Dolly, and took her for many walks. The poor dog probably just wanted to rest, but Faith was good about letting the kids take Dolly around the park as long as they promised to pick up after her.

The neighbors next to this couple were an elderly couple who didn’t seem to be all that friendly, but Bart managed to get both of them to come out of their rig and sit a spell with him. Oh, how Bart reminded me of my father, who was always called the camp diplomat. I have such fond memories of that man. He truly had a heart of gold.

Well, we discover that the husband had emphysema and a bad heart. I wondered why they were still full-time rving but figured that was none of my business. Bart, on the other hand, simply asked, “So why are you here? Doesn’t the dry heat exasperate your condition?”

The man’s wife said, “My husband grew up here. He wants to die here.”

I stood there in disbelief. Why would they choose to live in an RV when the man was dying? I understood him wanting to die here, but why not rent or buy a place. Then I hear her say, “This isn’t where I want to be, but I’ve chosen to give my husband his last wish. When he passes, I can simply walk away from this rig and head back to Ohio where our children live.”

Little did I know that night would be our neighbor’s last night on earth. We are awakened to sirens. The EMTs are putting our neighbor into the ambulance as we walk over to see if his wife needs any assistance.

She meekly says, “If you would be so kind as to drive me to the hospital. I’m not sure I’m up to driving right now.”

Of course, Bart’s decision to drive this woman is an easy decision to make. Martha and I tag along, just in case the woman needs a woman’s shoulder to cry on. I couldn’t believe how stoic the woman was as she watches her husband take his last breath. It almost seems like she’s happy to be rid of the burden of caring for her husband, but then she chooses to change my mind. Okay, so maybe God chose to change my mind, for what I see next is the woman gently kissing her dead husband’s forehead and whispering, “You are at peace now, Bear. No more treatments, no more surgeries, no more pain and suffering. I’ll love you forever, and I’ll see you someday down the road. Count on that.”

I thought, “This woman was living a living hell, watching her husband die a slow death. I had no right judging what was going on in her heart when she stood there watching him die. Her love for him far exceeds any love I’ve probably had for anyone, for she chose to give him his last wish.”

Then I think about how Jesus chose to honor His Father’s wishes by dying on the cross to save all of us. Would I ever have the courage to make such noble choices in life? I doubt it until we all got back to the RV park.

I give the woman a big hug and say, “If I could only learn to love just a fraction of how much you loved your husband. I’ve pretty much lead a selfish life, only thinking of me.”

The woman says, “Honey, that is an out and out lie. You have given of yourself over and over. I’ve read it in your blogs. You are giving of yourself with each person you’ve come in contact with on this noble ride you’ve chosen to take. You are doing God’s will.”

I stood there in awe of the words she spoke about me. I’d never thought of my trip as being noble, and I especially didn’t think I was doing God’s will. But when I thought about all the people I’ve met along the way, I thought that maybe God was working through me somehow.

It became obvious that we were all tired, so we headed back to catch a little more sleep before morning. And even though we were up early, our widowed neighbor was already gone. I wondered about her husband’s funeral. Had it been his choice for her to leave before he was buried? Or maybe he was to be cremated and his remains sent back to Ohio. I would never know the answers to those questions, and I knew it basically didn’t matter because those were their choices.

After a hearty breakfast, we left Hawthorne behind. I could feel God surrounding us with His loving hands. God was still directing us, guiding us, making our choices in life easier to make. Life was good.

And in my real world, me and my siblings have had to make some hard choices the past couple of weeks. My mother is suffering and dying from COPD. Because she is in the end-stages, we had to choose to put her in a nursing home where she would get better care and would be safer than living at home. This was not a choice my mother would have made for she wanted to die at home, but unfortunately, it was a choice God made for us. For whatever reason, God did not want my mother dying at home.

It has been a difficult time for my brother and his family. They are still in quite a bit of denial. My sister’s heart is heavy, knowing Mom’s time is drawing near. Me, well I’m pretty much like the woman in the above story that lost her husband. I’ve watched Mom try to recover from the loss of the only man in her life, my father, who died ten years ago. I watched as she mourned the loss of her younger brother last year. I’ve watched as her body continued to fail with each passing year.

She had made choices in life to not exercise and to rely a little too much on prescription drugs to make her aches and pains go away. Did these choices cause her to fail enough where she’ll be dying in a nursing home? I don’t know, but I do know that when she takes her last breath on earth, she will be reunited with her soul mate. No longer will she be struggling to breathe; no longer will she have to worry about money, or what her kids are up to. Her body will be healthy and vibrant again.

All of this makes me wonder what we’ll look like to our other family members should we be lucky enough to make it to heaven. Makes me think that I need to be wise about the future choices I make, so that someday I, too, will be reunited with the rest of my family.

So as we continue down life’s path, make the best choices possible for everyone, not just yourself. And let’s keep going the distance. God Bless.


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